October 19, 2013 - 20:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Anti-austerity protesters in Rome threw eggs and firecrackers at the Finance Ministry during a march against cuts to welfare programs and a shortage in low-income housing, the Associated Press reports.
More than 4,000 riot police were dispatched to maintain order as tens of thousands of protesters marched through the capital on Saturday, Oct 19. There were moments of tension when demonstrators passed near the headquarters of an extreme-right group, but police intervened when a few bottles were thrown.
Later, demonstrators threw eggs, firecrackers and smoke bombs outside the Finance Ministry. Police reacted by dispersing the protesters. There were no reports of injuries.
Ahead of the demonstrations police detained some anarchists believed to pose a security threat.
On Friday, thousands of workers are demonstrating in Rome against the Italian government's new budget, which they say will bring more hardship. The protests were accompanied by a 24-hour nationwide strike that caused disruptions for travelers. Train service was guaranteed in most cities for morning and evening commutes, but airports in Rome, Naples, Milan and Bologna had to cancel some flights. Some school and health workers also went on strike.
The USB and COBAS unions organized Friday's strike to protest austerity measures reducing transportation budgets. USB union coordinator Pierpaolo Leonardi accused the Italian government of imposing EU directives without concern for the impact on workers.
A smaller protest of about 600 workers was held in Milan.