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December 10, 2013

'Pitchfork' protests reveal economic frustration in Italy

Demonstrators block transportation across the country to demand reform.

Roughly 100 people occupied the rails of a major train station in Genoa, Italy on December 9, 2013, blocking traffic as part of the so-called 'Pitchfork' movement to halt transportation in a number of cities in Italy. (EPA/LUCA ZENNARO)

Thousands of demonstrators took to Italy's streets on Monday and Tuesday to demand reform to the country's struggling economy, from the job market to taxes and the Euro. The protests started on Monday, as truck drivers reportedly blocked roads by driving slowly, and train traffic was delayed by protesters blocking the tracks. On Tuesday, protests continued in public squares and outside government buildings.
The so-called "Pitchfork" movement, known as "Movimento dei Forconi" in Italian, started with Sicilian farmers originally concerned about rising taxes. Monday's protesters were diverse, including farmers, truck drivers, the unemployed, pensioners, and small-business owners.
Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, announced his support for the movement on Tuesday. Grillo urged police officers to join the protests in an open letter published on his popular blog.