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Thousands demonstrate in Italy to defend women's and gay rights

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Thousands demonstrate in Italy to defend women's and gay rights

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Tens of thousands of women gathered in Milan on Saturday to defend abortion laws which they say are under threat from the centre-right government and the Catholic Church. In Rome, protestors were demanding the legalisation of a civil union which would allow homosexual couples to enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. Asked why she had brought a broom with her, one demonstrator said: “We are going to sweep away this government, Cardinal Ruini (the vicar for Rome) and all the others, because we ought to be the ones who decide what women should and can do.”

Another protestor said he had come to fight the intervention of the Church in state affairs. Protestors were also demonstrating in favour of the abortion pill which allows women to have a non-surgical termination in the early stages of pregnancy. The Church wants the medication abolished, and some fear politicians eager to win Catholic votes could try to ban it.