Thousands of students and teachers are marching through the streets of Rome and other Italian cities to protest new education reforms.

A strike Thursday closed schools across the country as students joined in the demonstrations.

Students and unions representing teachers called for the strike to protest the reforms, which will reduce spending on education and research.

Italy's Senate gave final approval to the new education law Wednesday as student protesters clashed with right-wing counter-demonstrators in Rome.

Witnesses say some students started throwing cafe chairs and tables in Rome's historic Piazza Navona, sending tourists and shop owners running for cover.

Police intervened, and four people were injured.

Demonstrations against the cuts have been swelling over the past two weeks.

Some teachers are holding classes outside in city squares, publicly expressing anger over new education policies.

They include provisions where teachers can fail students for bad behavior, and elementary school students will be given the same teacher for five years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.