Clashes in Rome during anti-austerity protests

The anti-austerity demonstrations held in Rome on 14 November led to clashes between protesters and police, with the main action taking place on the Lungotevere near Ponte Sisto. There were 30 injured, among them 16 police, 60 people detained and so far three arrests, although this number could rise over the coming days as police investigate over 140 identified suspects.

The various protests, which were part of the European Day of Action and Solidarity, caused severe disruption to traffic, particularly on the Lungotevere. The historic centre was completely sealed off to traffic which caused tailbacks all across the city.

The main demonstration was organised by Italy's largest trade union CGIL whose chief Susanna Camusso described the austerity policies of Italian premier Mario Monti's government as “disastrous”. In Rome, CGIL members were joined by student protesters and other protest groups as similar protests took place across the country, as well as in Spain and Greece.

There were clashes outside the Synagogue on the Lungotevere after protesters threw rocks, bottles and firecrackers at police, and pulled down street signs. The police responded with teargas, and when the protesters retreated across the river to Porta Portese they were dispersed by armoured vehicles. The president of Rome's Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, claimed that some protesters outside the Synagogue chanted anti-Israel slogans, waved Palestinian flags and set off fireworks, prompting the teachers to lock the doors of the Jewish schools on Via Portico d’Ottavia as school children attended their lessons inside.

There were more tense scenes between police and students at Piazza del Popolo, although a trade union protest at Piazza Venezia passed off peacefully.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno appealed to the Italian government to provide solutions for the problems caused by demonstrations in the capital and called for “serious consequences” for protestors responsible for violence. Rome's police prefect Giuseppe Pecoraro said that the damage and injuries caused by the protests could have been much worse were it not for the efforts of the police force.

Italy’s interior minister Annamaria Cancellieri expressed "the strongest condemnation" for the violence that occurred today in several Italian cities such as Padua, Turin and Milan following more than 100 anti-austerity protests across Italy, while Alemanno tweeted: "This morning two authorised processions and three unauthorised. Rome paralysed by a few thousand protesters. Does it seem right?"

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Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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