Nov. 3 - Italians worry over the consequences of market turmoil and internal fighting in government. Young Italian students scuffle with police as they protest against austerity measures and the Cannes G20 summit. Conway G. Gittens reports.
As Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tries to save face - telling other world leaders at G20 meetings in France that Italy has always paid and will continue to pay its debts -back at home in Italy, his constituents are irate. Young students clashed with police in Rome after their demonstration was blocked from moving forward. Scuffles broke out as a few hundred students tried to break through a police barricade. Protesters like Marco Lucenti oppose Berlusconi's austerity measures - AND - other decisions made by world leaders. SOUNDBITE: MARCO LUCENTI, PROTESTER (ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING: "We are also against what is happening at the G20, a summit of twenty people who are deciding for the rest of the world. These things should be decided by the people, starting from the citizens, starting at the root level, not by some dozen politicians who will make decisions in the name of the whole world. We are absolutely against this." But there's a growing sense that Italians no longer want Berlusconi to speak for them at home or on the world stage. SOUNDBITE: ROME RESIDENT GIOVANNA LUCIDI (ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING: "Mamma mia, what torment! We just can't take it anymore. I don't think we can go on like this, there are too many arguments and too many divisions." SOUNDBITE: ROME RESIDENT FRANCESCA SFORZA (ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING: "The situation to me seems to be created by the irresponsibility of this government. Perhaps we should look at what is happening in other countries and understand whether it is time to go to the polls." Hastily called political meetings have yet to yield any results in Berlusconi's favor. Markets are still betting Italy may be the next shoe to drop in the European debt crisis. Meantime, Italians are growing more impatience with economic conditions, which means time is running short for Berlusconi. Conway Gittens, Reuters