Rome set for two days of strikes, protests
Officials fear mayhem like two years ago18 October, 10:35
Militant grass-roots unions called COBAS are staging a march against government austerity policies and for jobs through Rome Friday, with police coming out in force - more than 4,000 in all - to squash attempted violence amid reports the hard-line unions have been infiltrated by anarchists and agents provocateurs. Romans will also find life harder Friday with an all-day public transport strike, while there are fears of hooligan scuffles ahead of the Roma-Napoli top-of-the-table Serie A match at the Olimpico Friday night.
The so-called 'Derby del Sole' (Derby of the Sun) regularly leads to incidents and tensions are higher this year because, unusually, Roma are top of the league and Napoli second.
Police will not be able to stand down Friday night, even if they have had a day coping with violence.
On Saturday anarchist squats linked to the Occupy movement are descending on the capital to put up an anti-capitalist tent city.
Opponents of a high-speed trail line north of Turin will also be in town and are expected to cause trouble after a spate of recent incidents including bomb attacks on the site of the TAV line in the Susa Valley in Piedmont.
The demonstrators, who call themselves 'NO-TAV', have become more militant as it appears increasingly likely the government will not be deterred from forging the key link in a European-wide high-speed network, which will boost Italian and French business.