Tens of thousands marched in Rome on Saturday as part of a global day of protests against the financial crisis, as isolated groups of protesters smashed bank and shop windows and set two cars alight.
“Only One Solution: Revolution!” read one placard at the protest. Another said: “We Are Not Assets in the Hands of Bankers!” One group carried a cardboard coffin with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s name on it.
“Today is only the beginning. We hope to move forward with a global movement. There are many of us and we want the same things,” said one protester, Andrea Muraro, a 24-year-old engineering student from Padua.
Around him, protesters chanted: “We’re not paying for the crisis!”
The march was mostly peaceful and some of the protesters threw bottles at those behind the violence and tried to eject them from the march. Firefighters struggled to make their way through the crowd to put out the fires.
Famous monuments including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum were closed down and four metro stations were shut as 1500 police officers patrolled the streets, while two police helicopters could be seen circling above.