Left-wing Rome politicians drop trousers in budget protest
ROME (AFP) – Around 50 left-wing municipal officials dropped their trousers at Rome’s city hall on Monday to call for the speedy passage of the Italian capital’s 2010 budget.
“Alemanno has reduced us to our underwear,” read one protester’s poster, referring to the city’s right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno.
“Parks and gardens abandoned,” “Homeless people, empty homes,” others read.
Sandro Medici, the mayor of Cinecitta, the home of the city’s legendary movie studios, said Alemanno was dragging his feet over passing the budget “for electoral reasons, because it contains unpopular taxes.”
“Without a budget, we only have funds for current expenses,” he told AFP. “In my district, two schools that are supposed to open in September won’t be able to operate.”
Eleven of Rome’s 19 districts are headed by left-wing mayors.
Alemanno, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party and formerly of the post-fascist Italian Social Movement, wrested city hall from the left-wing Walter Veltroni in 2008.
Italy is set to hold elections in 13 of the country’s 20 regions, including Rome’s Lazio region, at the end of the month.