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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Italian Protest Widens

ROME () -- A four-hour general strike turned into a massive protest against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday when up to 3 million Italians took to the streets to march against his cost-cutting budget for 1995.

The demonstrations in Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence and more than 30 other cities were among the largest in Italy since widespread industrial unrest hit the country in the 1970s.

Berlusconi's free-market government has staked its credibility with battered financial markets on a budget that aims to slash 50 trillion lire ($33 billion) from next year's deficit, with more than half the savings due to come from cuts on pensions, health and defense spending.

While the protests widened, Berlusconi was in Moscow, where he signed agreements with Russian officials on expanding trade and fighting organized crime.