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Italian Unions Strike in 50 Cities

A woman inflates a balloon depicting the puppet Pinocchio with the face of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during a labor demonstration against the government in downtown Rome, Dec. 12, 2104.

Two major Italian unions are holding a nationwide strike.

Thousands of workers marched Friday in strikes in more than 50 cities across Italy.

The general strike is the latest in a series of protests of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's plans to overhaul labor laws, making it easier for from companies to lay off workers.

Renzi said he respected the workers' right to strike, but his tough line on the economy is necessary to strengthen Italy's economy and create jobs.

The strike affected public transportation, as well as schools, hospitals and over civil services.