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Violence in Rome after Controversial Vote

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In Rome’s most violent protest since the 1970s, 50,000 rioters took to the streets after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survived a move to oust him from power. More than 100 people were injured.

Fights first broke out among disagreeing politicians at the Parliament building, and once vote results were made public, protestors set vehicles on fire, attacked police officers with metal bars, and vandalized area stores. Elsewhere in the country, demonstrators stormed the Milan Stock Exchange building.

Mr. Berlusconi won by three votes in the lower house of Parliament, despite waning popularity due to his proposed sweeping budget cuts, and allegations of political corruption, charges of incompetence, and sex scandals.

The prime minister said the near-gridlocked Parliament will not stop his party’s plans to reduce government spending.

“We will go forward to guarantee stability of the country,” he said (Financial Times).

Additional protests, similar to the ongoing riots in Greece, Britain and France, are expected if Mr. Berlusconi’s austerity measures are implemented.


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