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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rude Word Rallies Italy for Change

ROME -- An Italian comedian's campaign using a rude word to tell off politicians has won the support of more than 300,000 Italians who signed petitions to sweep away a generation of lawmakers they say are corrupt and ineffective.

Comic Beppe Grillo has sent shock waves through the political system with the level of support for his campaign, which, if successful, would bar convicted felons from the parliament and limit politicians to two terms in office.

An estimated 40,000 people attended Grillo's rally in Bologna on Saturday and many more went to hundreds of similar "Vaffanculo-day" protests around the country. The word is the Italian equivalent of the "f"-word in English.

Gaining grass-roots support via his web site, one of Italy's most popular blogs, the 57-year-old comic said Italy needed a radical break from what he said was the political mismanagement of Italy since the end of World War II.

"Nothing has changed since 1943. Then the king fled a nation in disarray, today politicians barricade themselves in palaces immersed in 'cultural' issues," said Grillo, who, by the end of the protest in the early hours of Sunday, claimed at least 300,000 signatures to his petition.

The manifesto contains three points: no one with criminal records should be allowed in the parliament; a maximum of two terms for any legislator; and lawmakers should be elected directly, not by the current party list system.