ANSA/Day of violent student protests grip Italy

Eight officers injured, dozens of demonstrators detained

ANSA/Day of violent student protests grip Italy

(ANSA) - Rome, October 5 - Students across Italy protesting government austerity measures and budget cuts to education clashed with police on Friday. In Rome student demonstrators said that they were beaten with clubs and manhandled by police as they marched in the Porta Portese neighborhood. Six police in the capital city and two in Turin reported injuries. Digos security police in Rome said they detained several student organizers of the "unauthorized" protests for identification. They also confiscated objects thrown during clashes and detained an underaged protester who was subsequently released to his parents. Students said that police in full riot gear pinned them to the ground with batons or knees pressed against their necks. "Unfortunately, today we are once again faced with the problems caused by a protest in our city," Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said. "Only 1,000 students have managed to paralyze the capital. Romans are fed up and once again we turn to the interior ministry to lay down some rules, if not we risk suffocating". Earlier on Friday, a group of student protesters hung a huge poster of Premier Mario Monti depicted as a vampire from one of Rome's most famous monuments, the Altare della Patria (The Altar of the Homeland). The poster had the slogan "Baroni" (Barons) written on it, a reference to professors accused of running university departments as their own personal fiefdoms. The massive marble monument is home to Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and features an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel II as it was built to honour the nation's first king. Monti is an academic and a former European commissioner. In the Piedmont city of Turin, five students injured in clashes with police together with 10 others were arrested, authorities said. One of the students was taken to hospital with facial injuries, police said. Police said the 15 were arrested in order to identify them. Naples Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe said in an open letter that he shared the "sorrows, as well as expectations for proper recognition of the delicate work conditions and difficult daily tasks" students, teachers and education administrators faced. "I am on your side," Crescenzio said.

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