From Milan to Palermo, from Venice to Bari, in 70 cities across Italy, tens of thousands of high school students took to the streets Friday to demand investment in education.
Local reports said twenty five thousand marched in Naples, 5,000 in Rome, 4,000 in Bari, 5,000 in Milan, 4,500 in Turin, 1,000 in Genoa, and several thousand between Cosenza, Trieste, Pisa, Siena, L’Aquila, Salerno , Caserta, Catania, Siracusa and Bologna.
The organisers, which included a range of self-organised student networks and the university students union, declared that there was ‘no time to beat around the bush, we want to our demands to be heard now.’
Among the demands are a law on the right to education, an end to the deskilling of the teaching profession and the ‘subjugation of schools and state universities to the markets’, and ‘for a public and quality education system accessible to all.”
Education funding has been cut by more than 5% in Italy since 2010 – putting it in a league with Greece and Portugal, according to EU figures – as part of austerity policies designed to cut the deficit in line with EU budgetary rules.
However, the students, whose mobilisation was also backed by the CGIL trade union, also protested about wider issues that the country’s government has failed to tackle, from record youth unemployment, the degradation of the environment and the cancer of organised crime.