INTRODUCTION: Workers and students held rival protest demonstrations in Rome on Wednesday (23 March) as the Italian capital and the surrounding areas were brought to a halt by one-day strike of more than a million and a half workers.
MVs Chanting students with placards marching along street, Rome, Italy. (2 shots)
MV PAN Closed and shuttered shops.
MV AND CU Security forces with vehicles. (2 shots)
MV Police helicopter
GV PAN Crowd attending rally in St. John Lateran Square.
GV ZOOM TO MVs Communist trade union leader Luciano Lama addressing crowd. (6 shots)
Initials VS 17.45
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Workers and students held rival protest demonstrations in Rome on Wednesday (23 March) as the Italian capital and the surrounding areas were brought to a halt by one-day strike of more than a million and a half workers. The stoppage was called to protest against government economic plans and recent violent clashes between left-wing students and police.
SYNOPSIS: The students and the three communist-dominated trade unions involved have quarrelled following left-wing students' criticism of the Communist Party and the unions for their tacit support of the minority government of Premier Guilio Andreotti. Wednesday's strike affected small neighbourhood shops as well as public transport, schools and industry throughout the region.
The security forces were out in strength to stop any possible clashes between the two groups, but no incidents were reported. A crowd of over 100,000 gathered in a square near St. John's Lateran for a protest meeting addressed by senior trade union leaders.
Communist union leader Luciano Lama, who had been the main target of student criticism, told the rally that government plans for reducing the automatic wage increases related to the cost of living remained unacceptable to the union movement. The union stand is backed by the Socialist and Communist Parties, whose support in Parliament is essential for the survival of the Andreotti government.
The strike was postponed from last week because the Interior Ministry banned all assemblies or demonstrations following student violence.