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Italy: More than 200,000 take to streets in union-led protests against austerity

More than  two hundred thousand took part in a demonstration in Rome Saturday to defend welfare, and promote growth and fair taxation.

Organised by the three main trade union confederations CGIL, CISL e UIL, it brought thousands from the capital and surrounding region who were joined by workers and their families travelling to Rome from across the country in 1,000 coaches, four trains and two ships chartered for the event.

The unions want lower taxes on workers and pensioners and more investment in jobs to be financed by a step up against tax evasion, estimated at an astonishing 150 billion euros a year, and corruption, estimated at 60 billion euros annually, plus a wealth tax to tap the rich for a fairer contribution from their fortunes to fix the crisis.

They will also be protesting against the plight of hundreds of thousands workers who risk being left with a job or pension as a result of recently introduced  pension changes and planned labour reforms.

‘The deteriorating social and economic situation in the country demands a radical change in the economic policies,’ said Vincenzo Scudiere, confederal secretary of the CGIL union, ahead of the event.

Brutal austerity measures introduced by former right wing billionaire premier Silvio Berlusconi and his successor, technocrat Mario Monti, have pushed unemployment over 10% and the economy into deep recession, with speculation rising in the past few days that Italy is now so weak that it too will need a bail-out.

Aljazeera English

CGIL website

Photos from demonstration and rally (Ansa)

Ansa report (in Italian) on event

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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