Italy’s army may interfere against violent protests over economic woes
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has pointed to the possibility of calling in the army to deal with the violent protests in the country over the government’s economic policies.
Monti raised alert levels on Sunday at some sensitive sites across Italy to handle the recent violence that has hit the country.
Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri also said on Sunday that she was considering bringing in the army to defend certain locations.
“There have been several attacks on the offices of Equitalia (the agency handling tax collections) in recent weeks. I want to remind people that attacking Equitalia is the equivalent of attacking the State,” she said.
“The army could be used to guard buildings which could be the target of violent protest. The danger of an escalation exists. It’s a situation which demands drastic action,” she added.
On Saturday, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the offices of Equitalia in Livorno, Tuscany, and severely damaged the front of the building after they blew off. Moreover, a letter bomb, which did not blast, was sent to the organization’s offices in Rome on Friday.
Earlier this month, a senior executive of state-controlled nuclear engineering group Ansaldo Nucleare was shot in the leg, with an Italian rebel group claiming responsibility for the attack.
Italy has faced a fresh wave of attacks in the last six months since Monti took office as prime minister and introduced a harsh austerity package to save the country from bankruptcy. The three-year austerity and growth package includes budget cuts, pension reforms as well as tax hikes worth 30 billion euros.
Italy, one of the biggest eurozone economies, fell into recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The Italian government has been urged to implement economic reforms and budget cuts to reassure investors concerned about the country’s debt.
Italy’s debt ratio in the eurozone is second only to Greece.
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