Protests – at times leading to violence – have taken place in several Italian cities as people rallied against the government’s labour reforms and austerity measures.
Several police officers were injured in the northern city of Padua. Clashes erupted when demonstrators tried to reach the headquarters of Italy’s ruling Democratic Party.
The biggest rally took place in Milan, organised by two main unions, the CGIL (General Confederation of Italian workers) and FIOM (Italian Federation of Metalworkers).
They oppose the “Jobs Act” of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left government, which makes it easier for businesses to fire workers with the aim of making the market more flexible and creating jobs.
The measure is the central plank of Renzi's strategy and has caused rifts on the political left.
“Now is the time for us to defend labour rights together and call on our government to change direction, because it’s leading us to disaster,” said Maurizio Landini, the FIOM’s General Secretary.
“In our country unemployment is rising. There are no industrial policies, we need investment to create new jobs. We cannot just rely on the good will of businesses for the country’s future development,” said Susanna Camusso, General Secretary of the CGIL.
Meanwhile people also took to the streets of Rome where another transport strike hit the city.
A group of North African migrants joined the crowd to protest against violence against refugees by some residents of a Rome suburb.
Other demonstrators threw firecrackers and eggs outside the Economy ministry.
Some claimed they were beaten by police.