Berlusconi survives no-confidence as protests erupt

Reuters, Tuesday 14 Dec 2010

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi survives a no-confidence motion in lower house, clinging to an ever weaker base and an increasingly divided house

A demonstrator helps an injured fellow demonstrator during anti-government clashes near the parliament building in Rome 14 December 2010. (Reuters)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

Despite the victory, the future of Berlusconi's centre-right government remains uncertain because his wafer-thin majority will make it difficult for him to pass legislation.

Italian students, workers and other opponents of Silvio Berlusconi's government threw paint and smoke bombs towards parliament buildings on Tuesday as the prime minister narrowly won.

Anti-government protesters gathered in squares waving banners.

In some places protesters scuffled with riot police who had blocked off the centre of Rome. Protesters also marched in other cities across the country.

"Italian workers want Berlusconi to resign," said Gianni Rinaldini, leader of the Fiom workers union.

The marches follow weeks of bitter protests against the government, its austerity measures and planned education reform.

"They haven't done anything. For universities nothing has been done and we are in a situation which is getting worse every day," said university student Valerio Zampani.

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