Thousands in Italy Stage Strikes And Protests for Social Reform.
ROME, Dec. 15 (Reuters) — Thousands of demonstrating students marched through the streets of major Italian cities today while half the nation was paralyzed by strikes called to demand social reforms from the Government.
The biggest protest march was in Milán, where 20,000 left-wing students staged a solemn and orderly protest against the death of a fellow student Saturday during violent riots in which ahout 50 persons were injured." In Rome, 7,000 students marched peacefully through the city´s center protesting both the death of the Milán student and against the trial of Basque nationalists in Burgos, Spain.
At one point, some students struck a priest with sticks as he pulled down a red flag they had tíed to the iron gates of the Basílica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
There were no other serious incidents. The pólice and demonstrators in both Rome and Milán seemed intent on avoiding violence.
The strikes, part of a weeklong series called by Italy´s three big labor unión confederations, paralyzed industry, commerce, schools and public services in 11 of Italy´s 20 regions for periods of four hours or more.
A three-hour nationwide stoppage on the railroads produced chaos at stations during the lunchtime rush hour.
The strikes were called by the unions to protest inaction by the four-party coalition Government in carrying out reforms in the fields of health, housing, taxation, public transportation and regional development.