RIMANEWS - Italy's riot police have clashed with anti-government demonstrators rallying against the government's controversial austerity package, which the Senate recently approved.
The police reportedly used batons and fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters in the capital of Rome, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Moreover, hundreds of demonstrators tried to break through a police barrier protecting the upper house of parliament in which the vote for the austerity package was held.
The package, initially introduced by Prime Ministers Silvio Berlusconi, was approved by a vote of 165 to 141.
The EUR 54 billion package of spending cuts and tax hikes is meant to help the debt-ridden eurozone country balance its budget deficit by 2013.
The package was originally worth EUR 45.5 billion, but was raised due to market concerns.
It will now be passed on to the lower house Chamber of Deputies for approval, before it comes into effect.
Meanwhile, analysts believe the Italian government needs an additional EUR 10 billion cut in spending to achieve a balanced budget by 2013.
Italians had a day earlier, also staged demonstrations against the package. (preestv)