7 Sep 2011

Italians protest against austerity plans

12:28 pm on 7 September 2011

Tens of thousands of Italians have taken part in protests against austerity measures proposed by the government to reduce the country's public debt.

The demonstrations are part of a one-day strike, organised by Italy's biggest trade union, which caused flights to be cancelled and most government offices to shut.

The government has faced criticism over a 45 billion euro austerity package, and has been scrambling to revise it, the BBC reports

Some measures have been scrapped or watered down, but on Tuesday new additions were made - including a sales tax hike and revised wealth tax.

A constitutional requirement to balance the budget and changes to the retirement age will also be inserted.

Parliament is due to pass into law this week its amended austerity plan, first drawn up hastily during the August holidays at the insistence of the European Central Bank.