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Violent clashes erupt in Naples over Italian PM’s visit (VIDEO)

Fierce clashes broke out in the Italian city of Naples as hundreds rallied against the arrival of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Denouncing his austerity policies, protesters lit flares and broke through police cordons.

Hundreds of Italians took to the streets in Naples this week to vent their anger at policies being pushed through by Renzi’s government. They included changes to labor laws, education reforms, and the implementation of austerity policies. The protests were organized by several left-wing activists and teachers who said that the policies threaten to wreck the country’s already weak economy.

Angry protesters tried Monday to make their way into the main opera house in Naples, Teatro di San Carlo, where Renzi was due to arrive but they were blocked by police on their way. The group turned violent hurling dustbins and throwing street benches.

In April, anti-Renzi demonstrations in Pisa resulted in several arrests and injuries.

Naples is far from being the only city where citizens are angry at the government, Laura Ferrara, MEP from Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement said.

“Unfortunately, the situation is the same in all Italy.” she told RT adding that the “unemployment rate is very high” and citizens are just “absolutely exhausted”.“What happened in Naples, happened also in many other cities…” Protests also have taken place in Catania and Florence.

“Many shops are closing, entrepreneurs are failing because taxes are very high. The economic situation is unsustainable,” she said stressing that Italy is in need of reforms that would go in the direction of the need of citizens. “We are completely at the opposite right now”.

Italians are set to vote in a referendum on constitutional reform which will take place before the end of the year. Renzi says the reform which seeks to curb the powers of parliament’s upper house will reduce political instability in the country undergoing a banking crisis, economic stagnation, and pressures linked to migrant influx. He promised to resign in case of a ‘No’ vote.

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