Tuesday Oct 18, 201105:09 PM GMT
Italian police protest austerity cuts
Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:12PM
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Demonstrators hold hands up during an 'Occupy' protest on October 15, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
Italian police unions have held anti-austerity demonstrations in the capital of Rome, just days after they brutally cracked down on anti-corporatism protesters.

“We have to spend our own money when we move around Italy for work. The cuts meant we can't afford riot shields for policemen who are defending public order,” AFP quoted Filippo Girella, leader of the General Labor Union (UGL), as saying on Tuesday.

Girella referred to the 2010's EUR 80 million fuel and maintenance budget, which has now been reduced by half.

A statement released by the protesters explained that “the cuts are so bad that we have to save our resources in order to buy fuel,” prompting the demonstrators to ask for donation from passers-by in order to pay for petrol for their police cars.

Meanwhile, clashes between police officers and anti-corporatism protesters in Rome on Saturday left more than 130 people injured.

Rome's mayor said on Sunday that the cost of the damages has inflicted on the city by the Saturday protests, which was joined by tens of thousands, could cost some EUR 1 million.

The rally was inspired by America's Occupy Wall Street movement, which emerged on September 17 in the financial district of New York City in protest at a number of issues including the wars in the Middle East, US financial crisis and high bonuses for Wall Street executives.

On Saturday, affiliated demonstrations erupted in 951 cities in 82 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Moreover, Italy is among the hardest-hit countries by the eurozone debt crisis.

According to data released by the Bank of Italy last month, the country's public debt climbed to 1.911 trillion euros (USD2.6 trillion) in July, which is around double its GDP.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government has passed an austerity package to balance the country's budget by 2013.

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