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Thousands join protests against Italy's new austerity cuts
Friday, October 18th, 2013

"We are tired, we are fed-up, we can't live in this way," said Aida Utaggio, protesting Friday against the Italian government's proposed budget for next year.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta's budget for 2014 was the target of union ire, with civil servants and transport workers demonstrating against further austerity and budget cuts.

The protests were part of a two-day strike, organized by the left-wing unions COBAS and USB.

"With this budget the government is continuing to hurt a country which is already on its knees," said COBAS spokesman Piero Bernocchi, according to Reuters.

USB's union coordinator Pierpaolo Leonardi said Letta's government was imposing directives from the European Union, disregarding the plight of Italian workers.

The strike has already led to the cancellation of more than 100 flights and 80 percent of the capital's buses not running. The Associated Press said some school and health workers were also on strike.

Italy has been in a recession since the middle of 2011.

When Letta introduced the budget on Tuesday, he said, "I don't want to make dramatic claims but this is a significant step in the right direction, with lower taxes for companies and workers."

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Firemen wave a "No Tav" flag during a demonstration of Italian trade unions Cobas and Usb against austerity measures and European politics. Thousands of people protested against economic austerity in Rome today as partial transport strikes across the country cancelled dozens of flights and snarled buses and trains.

(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Men wearing Guy fawkes masks take part in a demonstration of Italian trade unions Cobas and Usb against austerity measures and European politics.

(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Firemen take part in a demonstration of Italian trade union Cobas against austerity measures and European politics.

(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE - AFP/Getty Images)
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A man takes part in a demonstration of Italian trade union Cobas, on October 18, 2013 in Rome.

(ALBERTO PIZZOLI - AFP/Getty Images)
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Firemen take part in a demonstration of Italian trade unions Cobas and Usb against austerity measures and European politics. Thousands of people protested against economic austerity in Rome today as partial transport strikes across the country cancelled dozens of flights and snarled buses and trains.

(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE - AFP/Getty Images)
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People take part in a demonstration of Italian trade union Cobas against austerity measures and European politics.

(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE - AFP/Getty Images)
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It's a lovely thing when shared traditions unite so many different people.
Organizers will now submit their claim for a new record to Guinness World Records, which is expected to rule on it within two months.