Tens of thousands of workers and jobless people have taken part in a rally in the Italian capital, Rome, in protest against the country’s rising unemployment rate and unfair taxes.
Italy’s three largest labor union confederations, the CGIL, CISL, and the UIL, organized the Saturday rally. The protesters slammed the government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta for imposing tough austerity measures, while also calling for an end to the high jobless rate. They demanded Letta’s government to deliver more than empty rhetoric with regard to the crisis.
" We can ' t accept these continuous promises that aren ' t translated into decisions that give a change of direction, " the country’s largest union CGIL’s Susan Camusso said.
The protest on Saturday is the first of such demonstrations to be held since Letta took office two months ago. Italy has an unemployment rate of 12 percent, with more than 40 percent of Italians under the age of 24 being without a job. Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent past. Tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy. Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the year’s fourth quarter. Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone. The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.