Sept. 6 - A national strike in Italy and doubts about it and Greece's willingness to push through the austerity demanded by their euro zone partners add to fears that the debt crisis may spiral out of control. Sonia Legg reports.
Thousands take to the streets of Rome. They're protesting about the government's austerity package which is currently going through parliament. The demonstrations were part of an 8-hour national strike organised by Italy's largest union. The CGIL said similar protests were staged in more than 100 Italian cities In Milan protestors threw eggs at banks as they marched to the stock exchange. (SOUNDBITE)(Italian) DEMONSTRATOR ELEONORA DELFINI SAYING: "I think Italian people are fast asleep, this demonstration is designed to wake them up, because our government is dragging us into the abyss." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) ROME RESIDENT NINO GATTO SAYING: "Nobody goes on strike without a reason. I think this is the worst government we have had since the end of World War II, detached from the citizens, detached from everybody." Flights at Rome's main airport were cancelled and public transport was seriously disrupted making it hard for those that weren't on strike to get to work. Foreign visitors also suffered. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTTISH TOURIST DAVID AUSTIN SAYING: "I think in a way it is good, but for travellers, for people trying to get around from day-to-day it is an inconveniance." Italy's government wants to cut 45 and a half billion euros from its budget. It's under pressure from the European Central Bank and others in the euro zone to cut its massive budget deficit. The austerity package must be approved by September 18 - but politicians keep changing their minds about what to cut. Italians may object to the measures but Germany's Finance Minister says all euro-zone governments must implement austerity measures to calm market turmoil. Without them he said Greece would not get its second bailout. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING: "Only if everyone acknowledges that all the conditions are met can pay out the next tranche. There is no room to manoeuvre." So, like Greece, Italy's financial troubles aren't just a domestic problem - the whole euro zone needs to tackle the debt crisis. Italians may not like austerity but many analysts say there's no other option. Sonia Legg, Reuters