Protest sparks Naples rioting

November 25, 1994

The centre of Naples was the scene of violent clashes between thousands of university and secondary school students, angry unemployed Neapolitans and police last week.

What began as a relatively peaceful protest march against this year's sudden hike in university fees and a planned reform of the secondary school system quickly degenerated into a full-scale pitched battle.

Hundreds of police used tear gas, baton-charged the students, and even fired pistol shots into the air. The students erected barricades across the streets with large rubbish bins set on fire and commandeered a city bus and placed it diagonally across a main avenue.

Eight students were arrested, scores injured, one seriously.

The students accused the police of brutality. Police officers replied that they were provoked by the students and pelted with stones. The Interior Ministry immediately opened an inquiry into police behaviour and tactics.

Many Neapolitans joined the student protest protesting at unemployment, cuts in pensions and the state health service. Unemployment is running at 30 per cent in crime-ridden, once-splendid Naples.

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