Italian riot police wielding batons yesteray clashed with several hundred demonstrators who were protesting in Naples over youth unemployment during a visit by the labour minister. Protesters wearing masks of Labour Minister Elsa Fornero and holding aloft banners calling for Premier Mario Monti to step down threw stones at police, who returned fire with tear gas in a skirmish which left 23 people injured.
Italy’s youth have been hit hard by the economic crisis. Unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds was at 35.1 per cent in September, up 4.7 per cent on a year, and government measures to tackle the issue appear to have made little headway. Fornero infuriated many young Italians last month when she told them not to be “choosy” when looking for work. Unemployment has shot up in Italy since the heavily debt-laden country entered into recession at the end of last year, and anger has been exasperated by reports of corruption and funds misuse among members of the political class.