Italy to try 18 people over anti-Berlusconi riot

An Italian judge on Thursday ruled that 18 people will face trial for rioting in the streets of Rome in December 2010 when a protest against then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi degenerated.

Ninety people were injured and dozens arrested in running street battles between protesters and police after Berlusconi survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on December 14.

The 18 protesters face charges ranging from arson to violent resistance against a law-enforcement official to holding an unauthorised protest.

The trial will begin on June 27, the pre-trial judge ruled, also throwing out charges against seven more protesters.

Some protesters set cars alight and hurled cobblestones at police during the riots, while officers fired tear gas and were seen beating some of them.

An AFP reporter saw one police officer draw his gun as he was dragged to the ground by a group of protesters, before his colleagues pulled him clear.