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Thousands protest in Italy

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 02:08

April 13 - Unrest in Italy continues, men working as Roman Centurions clash with police and thousands protest over pension reforms. Sarah Mills reports.

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It looks like a re-make of Gladitor. But this scuffle is real - another example of the ongoing unrest in Italy. For years men dressed as Roman Centurions have worked outside Rome's Colosseum, making money from tourists posing for pictures with them. However the government claims they don't have permits: (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) DAVIDE, WHO HAS WORKED AS CENTURION FOR 14-YEARS, SAYING: "All of a sudden, after 17 years, they want to kick us out. It's absurd. I have been making my living like this, I have supported my wife and my children for 20 years and now they tell me: 'you are out'." While this is a fairly small battle, across the city thousands gathered - also angry with the authorities. Banners and balloons their armour, in the fight against pension reforms: (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PENSIONER, NATALE CREMONESE, SAYING: "We are avant-guard because we are those who will receive pensions later than everyone else. All the workers have to pay for this and the injustice of these pension reforms has to be changed. Now there are too many people without work or pensions, it's profoundly unjust." Initially new Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti could do no wrong. But since he rushed through a 30 billion euro austerity plan - including structural pension reforms - his policy drive has lost momentum. Susanna Camusso is leader of Italy's largest labour union. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) CGIL UNION GENERAL SECRETARY, SUSANNA CAMUSSO, SAYING: "The problem in this country is if there is no investment to create new jobs, the recession will continue to grow. Then there is the problem of individuals, they need solutions to their problems." Monti admits his reforms may have no short-term benefits. However he says they lay the foundations for Italy's fight against the recession. Sarah Mills, Reuters

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Thousands protest in Italy

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 02:08