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'Don't protect politicians any more' says Grillo

'Pitchfork' movement 'could be start of fire' says M5S leader

10 December, 13:30
'Don't protect politicians any more' says Grillo (ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - Anti-establishment leader Beppe Grillo on Tuesday urged police to join a burgeoning anti-government movement and stop protecting Italy's politicians, hit by a string of pork-barrel and perks scandals and accused of failing to help the swelling numbers of 'new poor' in the country's longest postwar recession.

"I ask you not to protect these politicians any more," said the populist former comedian, whose 5-Star Movement (M5S) stormed to third place in February's general election in a huge protest vote.

A rising anti-capitalist, anti-euro and anti-austerity movement called Forconi (Pitchforks) on Monday caused chaos across Italy, blocking roads and railways and rampaging through city streets.

In Turin police showed solidarity by taking off their riot helmets after quelling a protest.

Grillo said Monday's angry demos, which piggy-backed a truckers' protest and also drew far-right groups, "could be the start of a fire or the harbinger of future and perhaps uncontrollable revolts".

He said the Forconi's rise was the result of "people exasperated at their living conditions and the arrogance, deafness and couldn't-care-less attitude of a political class that won't give up its privileges".

Until now Italy has not seen big grass-roots and street-level anti-austerity and anti-euro protest movements like Spain's Indignados or the various Occupy groups because the M5S has siphoned off public anger at nose-diving living standards and widespread corruption.