Rome: Clashes As Thousands March The Streets
Protesters threw smoke bombs and bottles at police in Rome as demonstrations against austerity measures in Italy turned violent.
Video: Rome: Protesters Clash With Police
Demonstrators have clashed with police in Rome as tens of thousands of people marched through the city to protest against unemployment, government cuts and construction projects they say take money away from social services.
The protesters turned over rubbish bins in front of the Economy Ministry and set several bins on fire.
Using sticks and clubs, they attacked police in riot gear. The police responded by charging the protesters and chasing them up side streets.
The demonstrators, who infiltrated a mostly peaceful protest, threw smoke bombs, eggs and bottles at the ministry and broke the window of a nearby bank.
Police said 15 of the most violent protesters have been arrested and two policemen have been injured.
In another area along the demonstration route, police defused a large firework with a bullet inside, which they said could have caused serious damage had it gone off.
Protesters also set off smoke bombs and fireworks along the route and many planned to camp out during the night in front of the Infrastructure Ministry.
Italian protesters take on police during mass march against austerity budget (PHOTOS)
Edited time: October 19, 2013 21:41
Violence broke out between police and demonstrators in Rome on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest Italy’s new budget.
“We are laying siege to the city!” chanted the crowd, as a small minority pelted the police and government buildings with water bottles and eggs.
A group of protesters turned over garbage bins and set some of them on fire in front of the Economy Ministry.
Police say they confiscated tear gas canisters and rocks from some of the radicals in the predominantly youthful crowd and found chains stashed away along the route of the march.
Organizers estimated that 70,000 people took part in the protest, while authorities placed the number closer to 50,000.
“With this budget the government is continuing to hurt a country which is already on its knees,” said Piero Bernocchi, leader of the left-wing COBAS trade union that was behind the demonstration.
“Even after austerity has proven to be disastrous, with debt rising, the economy crumbling, and unemployment soaring, they still continue with these policies.”