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Italy's PM refuses to budge amid education demos

 Italy's PM refuses to budge amid education demos
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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is standing firm in the face of sometimes violent demonstrations by students over controversial education reform.

He said he would now order the police to prevent any further occupations of school-buildings, so lessons can continue.

Berlusconi said he would not back down ‘one centimetre.’

“Demonstrations have taken place and organisers have lied about the number of participants, which has always been very low,” he told reporters. “I want to give a very simple warning: we will not allow the occupation of schools and universities.”

Taking over the buildings where they learn has become a hallmark of the student demonstrations.
Many have also been skipping lessons for several weeks in protest.

And the demonstrations of recent days have spilled out onto the streets of Rome, Naples, Florence and Bologna once again.

Among the reforms, the conservative government wants to fail students for poor conduct, and give them the same teacher for all five years.

The reforms also include budget cuts in higher education – prompting a meeting in Rome of the rectors of 15 Italian universities.