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Fishermen Protest High Fuel Costs in Italy

ITALY - On Wednesday, hundreds of self-employed fishermen from all over Italy gathered in Parliament Square to protest against fuel price and tax increases introduced by the emergency government led by Mario Monti.

PressTV reports that the spike in the cost of diesel - which has increased from 1.30 to 1.80 euro per liter in three years - is threatening to put many fishermen out of business. Italy's commercial fishing industry includes about 25,000 fishermen with combined annual revenue of 1.2 billion Euros.

The demonstrators were also protesting against the new stringent European Union fishing regulations.

The EU fisheries policies include tough measures such as the electronic tracking of all fisheries-related data to prevent illegal fishing, the introduction of a new point system applying to dishonest fishermen who will lose their license if they cumulate too many points and the imposition of a new minimum distance from the coast at which nets can be used.

At least two demonstrators were injured when police charged the group of fishermen who had thrown firecrackers at Italian Parliament buildings.

The government's political agenda is drawing broad sections of the working class into struggle, in solidarity with protests by taxi and truck drivers and other professionals targeted by Monti's liberalization scheme.

Wednesday's demonstrations in Rome were one of the several protests and strikes against Monti's anti-crisis measures taking place around the country. Many truck drivers continued their work stoppage. Petrol stations were forced to close after supplies run out in several parts of Italy. More strikes and protests are expected in the coming days.

Lucy Towers

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