Many of Italian state departments and tourist attractions shut down Friday as trade unions and public sector workers staged a general strike against the government budget cut plans.
Moreover, scores of thousands of strikers have joint a march in the capital against Prime Minister Mario Monti plans to save 26 billion euros (USD 34 billion) by 2014 by making cuts to the public sector.
Around 10 percent of employees are to lose their jobs including around 20 percent at management level in an effort to make services more efficient.
The protest was organized by trade unions CGIL and UIL and protesters chanted slogans and hoisted banners reading: "Stop burdening the weakest. We've already given enough." Staff at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum walked off their jobs, closing two of the city's top tourist attractions. The morning rush-hour traffic was badly snarled but the rally was peaceful.
University professors, public administration employees, garbage collectors and health workers also stopped work in support of the march.
Speaking to the rally, Secretary General of Italy Largest Union, CGIL , Susanna Camusso vowed to continue struggle to force the government to give up austerity plan which would turn thousands of people jobless.
She urged the government to stop targeting "the weakest" classes in the society.
Austerity measures have hurt household spending and deepened Italy's recession. Italian unemployment rose to 10.7 percent in July, the highest since 2004.