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Italy's protests continue ahead of key senate vote

 Italy's protests continue ahead of key senate vote
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With Italy’s senators about to vote in two days on controversial education reforms, thousands of students descended on Rome’s senate to protest.

Italy has seen daily demonstrations over Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s plans to reform education, which would see large budget and job cuts in universities and a return to single teacher classes in schools.

Such is the discontent, many students have been missing classes and occupying schools for weeks.

‘‘We don’t have any political affiliations here. Those who say there are divisions between us want to manipulate this demonstration,’‘ claimed a student protester in Rome.

But not everyone supports the anti-reform demos. In Turin students gathered to show how fed up they were over the disruption, although they appeared to have political affiliations, as right-wing Allianze Nazionale banners were on display.

‘‘We are here to say to the Minister of education to have the courage to make deep reforms to the universities and to say to those that occupy classes that we don’t want to follow lessons on the street,’‘ said an anti-demo protester.

A more sedate atmosphere against the measures was on show in Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Despite the mass action Berlusconi has said he will not budge on his reforms.