(ANSA) - Rome, December 11 - Anti-government protests
continued into their third day across Italy on Wednesday under
the moniker of the so-called 'Forconi' (Pitchforks) Movement.
Demonstrations spanned south to north, where cities such as
Milan and Turin so far showed the greatest turnout.
In Turin, where protesters opposed to austerity-driven tax
hikes have snarled traffic, a large group of student
demonstrators was at the forefront of marches.
Protests continued to shut down places of commerce around
the city, such as local food markets.
In the port city of Genoa, demonstrators occupied the
central square, and in nearby Savona they organized in front of
the offices of tax-collection agency Equitalia.
Marches were taking place throughout the northeastern
Veneto region as well, though traffic remained uninterrupted.
In the southern town of Bisceglie, the train station was
occupied by protesters, as they have done in several other
stations in Italy, tying up passenger and freight lines.
Pitchfork leaders have vowed a large-scale demonstration in
Rome if MPs do not abstain from a confidence vote in parliament
The Pitchfork Movement started among struggling Sicilian
farmers early last year and has since spread to their
counterparts in northern Italy, enlisting disgruntled or
bankrupt truckers and small businessmen as well as swathes of
recently impoverished citizens along the way.
Recent protests have also featured rightist groups as well
as students on the two political fringes.
Policemen facing longer hours and lower pay apparently
expressed solidarity after a recent protest by taking their
helmets off but police chiefs denied this, claiming it was a
normal way of making sure tempers had settled.