Europe protests at anti-worker governments

EUROPEAN HEADS of government assembled for a summit in Rome on 4 October. Outside, two mass protest demonstrations (numbering up to 200,000) made their way through the Italian capital’s streets.

Clare Doyle

One called by the European Trade Union Confederation, with contingents from France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and even Finland had large colourful contingents from Italy’s three major trade union federations.

The other demonstration, organised by Italy’s anti-globalisation movement, drew in contingents of students, anti-war activists and ‘unions of the base’ like COBAS, plus large numbers of Communist Refoundation youth and party members.

Both marches were organised in protest at the anti-working class policies of European governments – especially on the explosive issue of pensions.

The ‘No global’ demonstration concentrated on saying ‘No to a Europe of war and markets!’ The special carabinieri police force had a heavy presence at the Palace of Congresses and some clashes broke out.

In Italy, Sunday’s marches are seen as the opening shots in a stormy autumn of struggle against Berlusconi’s government.

Last week Italy’s workers struck over the prime minister’s brutal announcement of a drastic pension ‘reform’.

The three major trade union confederations – Cgil, Uil and Cisl – have announced a four-hour general strike for 24 October against proposals which spell longer working lives and lower pensions for all workers.