Thousands protest against Berlusconi

2011-11-05 22:30

Rome - Tens of thousands of opposition activists demonstrated in central Rome on Saturday for the ouster of Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Democratic Party leader Pierluigi Bersani told the crowd that his party is prepared to work with other opposition groups to lead a new government.

"If there is discontinuity and change, we are ready with the other opposition to create a new government," Bersani told the crowd in Piazza San Giovani.

Berlusconi's grip on power has been weakened by the ongoing sovereign debt crisis and infighting in his coalition that has prevented clear measures. Six members of his party this week urged him to step aside to allow the formation of a broader coalition with a centrist opposition party.

The protesters, who arrived on buses and trains from throughout Italy, were joined by centre-left politicians from France and Germany, as well as a group of topless female demonstrators from Ukraine known as Femen.

"We are not credible. I am ashamed of how other European countries see us. It is pitiful. This man (Berlusconi), this marionette, must go away," said Mario Puddu, a retiree.

Berlusconi has promised a confidence vote on new legislation sought by the European Union to shore up Italy's economy. The measures include a plan to sell government assets, tax breaks to encourage employment for the young, and getting women back into the work force. The legislation would also liberalize store opening hours and open closed professions.

Italy also agreed at a summit in Cannes to have the International Monetary Fund monitor the reform efforts, a humbling step for one of the world's seventh largest economies with the second largest public debt in Europe.

Italy's borrowing costs to service its enormous public debt at 120% of GDP have been rising since the summer, raising concerns of a default if Italy. While Europe has bailed out Ireland, Greece and Portugal, euro zone leaders say Italy is too big to bail out.

  • John - 2011-11-05 23:27

    Communists go to China, and just be another slave of the communist party there!

  • Yar - 2011-11-06 08:12

    I think his economics are sound. He clearly knows how to make money. I just dont think my little sister would be safe with him.

  • Grant - 2011-11-07 14:23

    Things are not looking good for the world economy and we will suffer more than most developing countries. We have yet to recover from the last world recession but looking at the way the ANC hierarcy are living it up, you wouldn't think so.

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