Italy: "Protesting is part of everyday life"

Submitted by Matthew on 12 January, 2011 - 11:57

A reform of Italian universities eventually approved by the Italian Parliament on 23 December was met by protests.

Violent clashes occurred on 14 December in Rome, over the vote of confidence won by Berlusconi. These ended with 57 police and 62 people injured, 15 million euro worth of damage and 41 arrests.

These demonstrations followed those of 24 November when 18 train stations were occupied.

Students tried to break in the Senate House, a chamber of the Italian Parliament. That has never happened before in the history of Italy. Then they headed to the private house of the Prime Minister and to the Chamber of Deputies. Police charges stopped them.

Other student demonstrations took place last October, last September and last scholastic year.

Protesting is now part of everyday life in Italy.

The earthquake victims of L’Aquila are fed up with more than a year living in an emergency situation. They went to Rome to demonstrate but were brutally charged by police.

Then there are flood victims of Veneto.

And immigrants asking for a permit to stay in Italy. They are climbing on cranes in order to resist.

People asking for housing are climbing on roof tops.

In Naples there are scuffles with the police, and protesters set fire to the rubbish that has not been removed from the street.

In Sardinia there is a movement of breeders and shepherds. On 28 December 200 of them were heading to Rome for another protest. They were stopped in the Civitavecchia haven and some of them were injured by the police.

Workers of the cultural sector protested against budget cuts last November; museums, libraries, archaeological areas have been shut down.

There are also many local protests.

Demonstrations are always followed by controversies in the media and accusations of policemen infiltrating protests to create disorder.

Blame is put on the government, but the mainstream political opposition is also ineffective. That is a legacy from the last Prodi one-vote-majority government, which ended after just two difficult years.

Berlusconi doesn’t understand what is going on. Or, better, he doesn’t want to understand.

When the country is shaken by demonstrations, Mr Berlusconi and friends are trying to approve laws that will ensure they avoid serious criminal charges.

But the people who are in the deepest troubles are the people of Italy. It is a gloomy future for them with a public debt far above 1,800 billion euros, a very slow job market, a deficient welfare state and a stagnant economy.

The government cannot satisfy people’s needs.

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