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Letta demands respect for elected officials amid protests

'Loyalty of police unquestionable' says premier

11 December, 11:31
Letta demands respect for elected officials amid protests (ANSA) - Rome, December 11 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Wednesday demanded respect for elected officials in the face of mounting anti-government and anti-austerity protests across the country, as well as calls for police to stop protecting politicians. "This republican parliament and our offices demand respect in such bitter times," said Letta told parliament ahead of a confidence vote. As a truckers protest swelled to include anti-establishment demonstrators of all stripes Tuesday, 5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo encouraged police to no longer protect politicians, after officers in riot gear doffed helmets in several separate episodes, which was widely interpreted as a sign of solidarity with protesters. Speaking before a vote that aims to consolidate his power after political reshuffling in the last two weeks, Letta stressed that the "loyalty" of Italy's police force to republican values is "unquestionable". Under the moniker of the so-called Forconi (Pitchfork) Movement, protesters have vowed to mount a large-scale demonstration in Rome unless MPs abstain from Wednesday's confidence vote.