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Italian students storm landmarks to protest education cuts

Protests against proposed cuts to the Italian education system continued for a second day. Students swarmed the Colosseum and occupied the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Students stage a protest against university and school reforms at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Students occupied the upper level of Pisa's world-famous tower

Italian students, protesting against proposed cuts in the education system for the second straight day, stormed the Colosseum in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa on Thursday.

As more than 1,000 students protested outside Pisa's iconic medieval structure, around 30 students occupied the tower and hung a banner that read "No to University Reform!" Tourists were evacuated and the tower was closed to the public with the students still inside.

On Wednesday, about 1,000 students occupied the five main bridges over the Arno River, bringing traffic to a standstill.

In Rome, dozens of students charged into the Roman Colosseum, jumping over turnstiles at the entrance. Some lit red smoke flares and shouted slogans, while others climbed the face of the landmark and hung a banner that read "No Cuts, No Profit!"

Two students were detained following brief clashes with police on Wednesday, as demonstrators headed towards the Italian parliament.

Funding, job cuts by 2013

Millions of students, researchers and teachers in other Italian cities joined the nationwide protests, occupying piazzas and university buildings. In Florence, clashes between police and protesters left at least one student injured.

The protesters are angry over cuts of about nine billion euros ($12 billion) proposed by the conservative government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to take effect by 2013. At least 130,000 jobs are also on the chopping block.

Italy's Chamber of Deputies is set to vote on the reform on November 30.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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