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Italians hold anti-austerity across the country

 
 
 
 
 
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Students clash with riot police during a demonstration in downtown Rome on October 5, 2012 against deep cuts in the education budget.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Italy to protest against the government’s financial policies.

The protesters, who were mainly students, staged demonstrations across Italy on Saturday to express their opposition to Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity measures in the education sector and the government’s plans to privatize public school, which they believe will increase unemployment.

Protesters carried banners and signs reading “Public school is not a company” and “The richest must pay for the crisis.”

“I feel very disappointed because culture is never highly valued,” one of the students said.

Hundreds of teachers also joined the demonstrators to protest against the spending cuts.

“Cuts in education means cutting the future, cuts in education means even more unemployment than there is today,” a high school teacher said.

“Without studying there is no evolution, we can’t go on like this. In a country that is carrying on like this, there is no investment in the future,” the mother of a student said.

The tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes introduced by the Monti government are extremely unpopular in Italy.

Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone single currency area.

Spain, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Portugal are all in recession, and all five are receiving financial assistance through European bailout funds.

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