World

Italian unions shut down basic services, march in 50 cities against government reforms

  • A student wearing a Santa's costumes is pushed away by a policemen during a protest in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Thousands of union workers and students staging a general strike marched Friday through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms that they say erode workers' rights. The general strike, shutting down basic services across Italy, is the first ever by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a center-left government, which have traditionally cozied up to unions. Premier Matteo Renzi said the right to strike must be protected, but insisted his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

    A student wearing a Santa's costumes is pushed away by a policemen during a protest in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Thousands of union workers and students staging a general strike marched Friday through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms that they say erode workers' rights. The general strike, shutting down basic services across Italy, is the first ever by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a center-left government, which have traditionally cozied up to unions. Premier Matteo Renzi said the right to strike must be protected, but insisted his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)  (The Associated Press)

  • Students wearing Santa's costumes climb over the fence surrounding the Lombardy region building during a protest in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Thousands of union workers and students staging a general strike marched Friday through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms that they say erode workers' rights. The general strike, shutting down basic services across Italy, is the first ever by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a center-left government, which have traditionally cozied up to unions. Premier Matteo Renzi said the right to strike must be protected, but insisted his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

    Students wearing Santa's costumes climb over the fence surrounding the Lombardy region building during a protest in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Thousands of union workers and students staging a general strike marched Friday through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms that they say erode workers' rights. The general strike, shutting down basic services across Italy, is the first ever by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a center-left government, which have traditionally cozied up to unions. Premier Matteo Renzi said the right to strike must be protected, but insisted his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of union workers staging a general strike are marching through more than 50 Italian cities to protest government reforms that they say erode workers' rights.

The general strike, shutting down basic services across Italy, is the first ever by two of Italy's largest union confederations against a center-left government, which have traditionally cozied up to unions. Premier Matteo Renzi insists his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs.

In a sign of internal discord within his own party, some members of the Democratic Party joined the marches.

The general strike created a patchwork of chaos as local transport, schools, ports and other services were shut down on rotating schedules.

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