Four leading Italian consumer associations have organised a day of protest and a strike on Wednesday 14 September. Italians are being urged not to do any shopping, not to go to the post office or the bank, not to buy petrol, and to turn off their lights for five minutes at 11.30.

The protest is against the high and rising cost of living, the threat of further increases in the price of fuel and utilities.

A demonstration will take place outside the Italian parliament 11.00. During the protest low consumption light bulbs and tinned tomatoes will be given away to members of the public. As well as protesting about fuel and utilities costs the protesters also want to draw attention to unfair, unequal VAT rates on gas, the need for a price freeze on rail fares, vehicle insurance and bank charges and a guaranteed reduction in the price of over- the- counter medicines.

Demonstrations are also being organised in Milan, Genoa and Catania.