Strikes, protests halt Italian transport

Buses, trains and the subway system experienced heavy delays or stoppages on Friday as Italian public transit system employees and union workers took to the streets demonstrating against Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government.

Other services such as sanitation, public schools and airport maintenance were also interrupted.

This event marks the first nationwide strike against Monti and his proposed austerity policies which experts say will negatively affect unemployment, welfare and free tuition cuts.

Protesters have expressed that those who caused the crisis and made a huge profits were not targeted at all by the government

“Blue-collar workers, students, poor people haven’t done anything yet against the bankers, bosses, financial institutions,” a protester said.

The controversial measures are pending parliamentary approval.

Italy has also been hit by a truck drivers’ strike which has clogged traffic on highways, leaving a number of cities short of gasoline and food.

The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

There are fears that more delays in resolving the eurozone debt crisis, which began in Greece in late 2009 and infected Italy, Spain and France last year, could push not only Europe but also much of the rest of the developed world back into recession.

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