In Italy, the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi is watching turnout for today’s general strike, called by the country’s largest union. Growing discontent over the country’s austerity plan is threatening to affect the government’s popularity rating, already on the way down.
Italy is expected to grind to a halt and the police are out in force. “The budget is unfair because it hits the poorest hardest – salaried workers will be affected.” said one demonstrator.
Polls suggest the majority of Italians think the cuts announced in May are unfairly distributed. Even the promise of wage cuts for parliamentarians has done little to change that view.