INTRODUCTION: Italian student riots erupted throughout Italy over the weekend, when tens of thousands of students clashed with police in many cities.
INTRODUCTION: Italian student riots erupted throughout Italy over the weekend, when tens of thousands of students clashed with police in many cities. Student unrest began last week in protest over the lack of employment opportunities for university graduates, but during one demonstration in Bologna a student was killed and this triggered off a violent backlash. Some of the worst clashes occurred in Rome on Saturday (12 March).
SYNOPSIS: The Rome demonstration began peacefully enough with a march past the Colosseum with banners demanding more jobs for student graduates....but the city was already bracing itself for a violent reaction to the Bologna killing.
Thousands of police were drafted into the capital armed with tear gas grenades, but by the end of the day, student extremists and police were battling in some of the worst clashes in recent years.
Police ringed the Rome university building with armoured cars, and fired hundreds of teargas rounds into the campus. By nightfall, the battle was over, leaving the police in command of the smoke-filled streets. But before the end, hundreds of students and police had been injured and fourteen policemen were in hospital recovering from bullet wounds.
On Sunday morning, Rome authorities and citizens were counting the cost of the rioting. Many streets looked like battlefields, with dozens of shops smashed and looted and scores of cars burned out. While the rest of Sunday remained quiet, Italy was preparing for further outbreaks of violence in the confrontation between students and authorities.