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Students throw smoke bombs during conference

Environment minister says dialogue impossible amid violence

12 December, 15:13
Students throw smoke bombs during conference (ANSA) - Rome, December 12 - Students protesting outside a conference on the green economy involving several cabinet ministers in central Rome Thursday lobbed smoke bombs while other protests snarled traffic around the city.

Inside the conference hosted at La Sapienza university were several cabinet ministers including Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni and Environment Minister Andrea Orlando.

Later, Orlando said it was not possible to speak with protestors when they resorted to violence.

"I am for dialogue but I do not think that dialogue is developed with smoke bombs," he said.

Separate protests related to the loose anti-government Pitchfork (Forconi) Movement included unionized workers who were gathering in different parts of the historic centre, including Piazza del Popolo and the area near the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità) near the Imperial Forums.

Demonstrations have spread across the country since they began on Monday, with major northern cities including Milan, Turin and Genoa showing the greatest turnout.

Protesters opposed to tax hikes and austerity enforced by the European Union have been joined by others taking up different anti-government causes.

Many have occupied roads, squares and railways, snarling traffic, blocking trains and disrupting pre-Christmas commerce.

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