Italian riot police have clashed with protesters rallying against the Italian parliament’s final approval for the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s recent austerity package.
The violence erupted outside the parliament as lawmakers were on the austerity measures, AP reported on Thursday.
Scores of protesters unleashed smoke bombs and others threw projectiles at the police.
The police responded by attacking demonstrators and beating them with batons.
The EUR 54-billion austerity package is aimed at eliminating Italy’s budget deficit by 2013 and includes a mixture of tax hikes, spending cuts as well as changes to the nation’s labor laws.
Officials have said the plan is necessary to prevent Italy from falling deeper into the eurozone debt crisis.
Italy’s budget deficit currently stands at 3.8 percent of the country’s GDP.
Moreover, the Italian government introduced a EUR 48-billion austerity package in July to balance the budget.
As Italy became embroiled in the eurozone debt crisis, it has come under heavy pressure from EU leaders to contain its widening budget deficit.
The European Central Bank has so far spent EUR 41.6 billion on buying the Italian and Spanish bonds in an attempt to stop the downward pressure on their price.
Furthermore, many analysts believe the Italian government needs an additional EUR 10 billion cut in spending to achieve a balanced budget by 2013.
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