Rome

Bedridden go on hunger strikes over benefits in Italy

Demand a plan be specified under the spending review budget

Bedridden go on hunger strikes over benefits in Italy

Rome, October 22 - Roughly 50 severely ill people launched a hunger strike on Sunday to protest the government's lack of a plan, under a major budget cut decree, to deal with people like themselves, who require constant care to live. All of the hunger strikers suffer serious neurodegenerative diseases and belong to the Novembre 16 Committee, an activist group founded by sufferers of the motor-neuron disease ALS, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The name of the group refers to the date, November 16, 2010, when the group launched their activities by demonstrating in front of the Economy Ministry to demand better representation and more resources. To explain the hunger strike, the group's president, Mariangela Lamanna, said, "Under the Spending Review law, the government has destined part of 658 million euros for non-self-sufficiency, but does not yet have a plan for the destination of the resources". "The hunger strike consists of a progressive reduction of food," continued Lamanna. "It concerns extremely ill people, almost all bedridden with tracheotomies, all of whom require continuous assistance and 24-hour vigilance". Lamanna said the group wants a meeting with the government and a commitment to a plan. Among other demands, the group wants to see the State contribute 20,000 euros per year for every non-self-sufficient, gravely ill person, to allow appropriate machines and assistance for survival to be set up at home.

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