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Mass European demonstrations
Millions of striking workers shut down the Italian economy,
on Oct. 18, while a total of two million actually marched in the streets in
various cities. They were protesting recent moves against labor, especially
Fiat's announcement that it would lay off 8,100 workers. Another target was
rightist Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who wants to gut important legal
protections for workers that make layoffs extremely difficult.
Two weeks before, on Oct. 5, some 1.5 million came out
across Italy to protest Bush's plans for war on Iraq and Berlusconi's support of
the war. The largest outpourings were in Milan with 80,000 people, and in Rome
where 200,000 attended an evening march. Leftist and secular groups dominated
the Italian anti-war demonstrations.
This contrasted with the Sept. 28 anti-war demonstration in London, which also drew a large crowd of 200,000. In London, organizers allowed black-shirted members of a group calling for an Islamic state in Britain to ring the speakers' platform. This was undoubtedly a result of the fact that the British demonstration was organized by an alliance between the Coalition to Stop the War and the Islamist Muslim Association of Great Britain.
Published by News and Letters Committees