Riot police have clashed with angry students in at least three Italian cities as the effects of deep cuts to the education budget are felt.
Thousands of students up and down the country denounced the previous government of Silvio Berlusconi which introduced the austerity measures.
The protests turned ugly in Milan, Rome and the northwest city of Turin. Rallies were also held in Naples, Bologna and Modena.
Current Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has deepened the cuts since taking office which students say is ruining their chances of getting a good education and finding work. More than one in three young Italians is jobless and that figure is rising.
Student protester Matteo said they hoped Friday’s demonstrations would show more than just anger over cuts.
“We take to the streets not only to say that we reject these austerity politics, but also to bring to the public’s attention the problems of our education system, to remind people that schools are an important part of society and we can’t do without them,” he said.
Police say several officers were injured during clashes in Rome after students tried to rush a police van. A handful of protesters were detained briefly.