Students protest educational reforms

Nov. 18, 2010 at 8:45 AM
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ROME, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- As many as 200,000 young people in 100 Italian towns and cities took part in protests against educational reforms, officials said.

The students were protesting cuts in educational funding, the firing of teachers and government's collaboration with businesses in educational reform, the ANSA news agency reported.

The Milan city council said Wednesday's protests there were marred by vandalism, including graffiti scrawled on walls and broken shop windows. It estimated the public cost of the demonstrations at nearly $200,000.

"We'll bring the crisis to you," one youth whose face was masked, wrote on a building.

In Rome, smoke bombs were used when protesters broke away from a designated route and reached the area of the Italian Lower House.

Another hot spot was Turin, where students blocked train tracks and occupied a university building, the report said. One target of the protests is Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini, whom angry demonstrators want to resign.

In a statement, student associations Rete degli Studenti and Unione degli Universitari said: "We want funds for state universities and schools to be invested in school buildings and scholarships."

Gelmini said the students were wrong to protest against educational reforms, and that the primary aim is to slim down a bloated system.

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