(ANSA) - Milan, December 17 - The head of Italy's powerful
industrialists' confederation said Tuesday that nationwide
austerity protests were "amply justified".
"In recent years we haven't been very focused on doing
what's necessary to stoke economic growth," said Confindustria
President Giorgio Squinzi, noting "widespread malaise"
throughout the country.
"The situation of Italy's real economy is dramatic in many
cases. These protests are starting to become a visible
manifestation of a situation that remains extremely difficult".
Protests have snarled traffic and interrupted commerce in
various cities throughout Italy for the past week under the
banner of the Pitchfork Movement, a loose-knit network
originally composed of truckers and farmers opposed to
austerity-driven tax hikes that has since grown into an umbrella
group for the country's disgruntled, anti-government masses.
A large-scale demonstration in Rome is scheduled Wednesday.
Authorities fear violence is likely.
Numerous probes have been open across Italy into incidents
of looting, destruction of private property, and other acts of