News / Europe

Poor Economy Sparks Protests in Italy

Sabina Castelfranco

Discontent runs high in Italy among the population due to the country's economic difficulties. This led to massive protests over the weekend attended by tens of thousands of demonstrators.

It was meant to be a peaceful effort to voice unhappiness over the government's failure to provide concrete responses to existing problems. But soon extremist elements infiltrated the demonstrators, turning their anger into violence.

The streets of Rome saw scenes of urban guerrilla warfare that they had not witnessed in years.

Italy has Europe's second highest debt burden after Greece. Unemployment is high. Young and old find it very difficult to make ends meet.

Many students feel they have no prospects, no future. Among them is Camilla Polimadei, 17.

"I am worried about the fact the at the moment the way things are going I should no longer even bother studying because what's the point? I'll end up working as a hairdresser even if I get a degree," said Polimadei.  "I don't want a future like this. I want a future that I earn what I want to become."

Her father is equally discontented.

"Politics do not do the interests of the population," he said.  "Politics does its own private interests, especially this government. We have seen it at all levels with the corruption and bad management. And those who pay for all this are citizens who pay their taxes and do not know where the money goes and where it is being invested."

The center-right government led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survived a confidence vote in parliament last week. Many feel it is time for a new leadership because this government lacks the ability to implement the needed reforms.

The London School of Economics' Marco Simoni says Italy's inactive government has exacerbated the economic situation.

"It's like a spiral," Simoni noted.  "Like you don't do your reforms. Because you didn't do the reforms, the economy gets worse. Because the economy gets worse, interest groups cling even more than before to what they have. And therefore reforms become even more unlikely."

Simoni says the economy could get worse before it gets better. And he says, while many believe a change of government would help solve the economic situation, Berlusconi will likely hold on to his leadership until elections in 2013.

Italians hold out little hope that their economic conditions will change any time soon. They feel poorer and poorer and more demonstrations are expected. Now authorities are discussing what measures need to be adopted to avoid a repeat of what was described as incredible and unacceptable violence.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid