Italian students take on riot police in protest against budget cuts and unelected EU ‘government of the banks’

Students have clashed with police across Italy in protests against budget cuts, while transport strikes halted buses and trains.

The clashes came as Premier Mario Monti prepared to unveil his anti-crisis strategy ahead of a confidence vote in his day-old government.

Police in riot gear scuffled with students in Milan, where they planned to march to Bocconi University, which forms Italy’s business elite. Mr Monti, an economist and former European Union competition commissioner, is Bocconi’s president.

Mr Monti formed his government yesterday, shunning politicians and turning to fellow professors, bankers and other business figures to fill key cabinet posts. His administration is tasked with restoring confidence in the country’s financial future and avoiding a worsening in the eurozone’s debt crisis.

In Palermo, Sicily, demonstrators hurled eggs and smoke bombs at a bank, and protesters threw rocks at police who battled back with pepper sprays. One protester was injured in the head in Palermo, where police charged demonstrators who were trying to occupy another bank.

In Rome, hundreds of students gathered outside Sapienza University, while others assembled near the main train station. They planned to march to the Senate, where Mr Monti was scheduled to speak ahead of the evening confidence vote on the new government.

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