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The "pitchfork protests" in Italy have now gone on for a week. RT reports 'Pitchfork' protesters clash with police in week of anti-austerity rallies
Protesters in several Italian cities have clashed with police amid anti-austerity protests which have lasted for almost one week. The so-called “Pitchfork” protesters are marching against cuts and calling for the government to resign.Protest Images
Demonstrators hit Rome, Venice, and Turin on Saturday. Students threw paint bombs at police in Turin, which has been the epicenter of the protests. The city has seen the largest number of clashes with law enforcement, with officers using tear gas to disperse demonstrators who hurled stones.
Turin protesters also blocked rail traffic and stopped trains at the city’s main stations. Truckers - protesting high taxes and fuel prices - and students brought traffic to a virtual standstill earlier this week. Activists pitched tents on a bridge across a river bordering France, near the town of Ventimiglia, forcing police to step in. City authorities ordered reinforcement from security forces.
Activists have promised larger demonstrations in the capital next week. The protests are being staged in the name of the Forconi – or Pitchfork – movement, which was originally organized by a group of Sicilian farmers.
"There are millions of us and we are growing by the hour. This government has to go," Reuters quoted one of the leaders of the protests, Danilo Calvani, as saying earlier this week.
As demonstrators blame the two-year recession on politicians, they are demanding that the government be replaced and parliament be dissolved.
Fourteen policemen have been injured over the past several days. Many shops and other properties have been damaged.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano voiced concerns that the unrest could "lead to a spiral of rebellion against national and European institutions." He told lawmakers that although the government understood "the suffering of poor people," it would not allow the violence to continue.
Alfano said that the government has tried to talk with the protesters, but has thus far failed because there are many different groups and no clear leaders.
RT has four excellent images of the protests. Here are a couple of them.
Italy's "Pitchfork Protests" Spread to Rome; Interior Minister Warns of "Drift Into Rebellion"
Last Thursday I reported Italy's "Pitchfork Protests" Spread to Rome; Interior Minister Warns of "Drift Into Rebellion".
In response to my article, reader George offered comments on this paragraph from my article: "Letta has warned repeatedly that opposition to the government and the EU is growing strongly, fuelled by sacrifices needed to keep public finances in order and which could result in a massive anti-EU vote in next year's European parliamentary elections."
George says "Hello Mish. The sacrifices Letta refers to are nothing more than taxes paid to an oligarchic government, so the government can pay interest to private bankers, on money the bankers had lent to the government, money that the bankers worked so hard on their computers to create."
That's part of it. Some of the taxes go to support public unions, and the rest goes to government bureaucrats doing everything they can to not only pad their own pockets but also to stay in power.
I leave it to the reader to assign percentages to each of the "nonworking" parts. The percentage of working parts is small and can safely be ignored in assignment of where tax money goes.
And please note the irony. The "pitchfork" movement is up in arms because government is not handing out enough jobs, giving away enough free money, and giving away enough free services.
Here's the "real" pitchfork beef: Most of them are upset because they're not in on the scam.
That leads to the next question: How much would it cost to do what the movement wants, and where would the money come from?
As bad as all this is, the Euro made matters far worse. It can't and won't last.
Eventually, there will come a time when a populist office-seeker will stand before the voters, hold up a copy of the EU treaty and (correctly) declare all the "bail out" debt foisted on their country to be null and void. That person will be elected.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock