Italy police use tear gas on austerity protesters

ROME, Sept 7 Wed Sep 7, 2011 2:34pm EDT

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ROME, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Italian police on Wednesday used tear gas and baton charges to disperse demonstrators protesting in Rome against the government's austerity programme.

Around 500 demonstrators tried to break through police barriers outside the upper house of parliament as it held a key vote of confidence on the 54 billion euro ($75.8 billion) package which it approved.

Senate speaker Renato Schifani interrupted the voting procedure to thank the police and condemn the violence, saying it was "a wound against democracy".

There were no reports of injuries in the scuffles, which follow mass demonstrations around Italy on Tuesday when the country's largest trade union held a general strike against the austerity measures. (Reporting by Antonio Denti; Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Louise Ireland) ($1 = 0.712 Euros)

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