"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Unrest in Itlay, Riots in the Streets of Rome

Confidence in the government seems to be waning...

"Italians voiced shock on Wednesday after violent protests set off by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's narrow victory in a vote in parliament that leaves his government hanging by a thread.

"Berlusconi survived a no-confidence vote in the lower house by just three votes, following the rebellion of speaker of parliament Gianfranco Fini who left the ruling coalition with his allies earlier this year.

"The victory ignited running street battles between hundreds of anti-Berlusconi protesters and riot police in which more than 100 people were injured in the tourist-heavy centre of the Italian capital.

"'What happened yesterday was not an expression of freedom. It was an attack by organised groups of hooligans,' Berlusconi said on a news show on Wednesday.

"Protesters set cars alight, hurled cobblestones and beat officers with metal bars. Police retaliated by firing tear gas and striking protesters.

"A total of 26 protesters have been charged, police said on Wednesday.

"One officer dragged to the ground was seen by an AFP photographer with his gun in hand, though he later said the weapon had dropped out of his holster and he had grabbed it to prevent it falling into the hands of protesters.

"'Rome was defiled like it hadn't been since 1977 during the terrible Years of Lead,' when Italy was rocked by violent political militancy including bombings, shootings and kidnappings, said the Corriere della Sera daily.

"Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno said the clashes were 'shocking' and likened them to the 'gratuitous violence that was on the streets of Rome in the 1970s and that I hoped never to see again.'

"Alemanno estimated the damage at 20 million euros (27 million dollars)."

I know little about Italian politics, but I doubt that Italy is in for more Years of Lead. I do think the stability of the last few years will be gone for quite some time. Like a lot of the world in these uncertain times, Italy will be a place to keep an eye on in the near future.

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