Protesters march in Rome against government plans to make firing easier, snarling traffic

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have rallied in Rome to protest Premier Matteo Renzi's plan to make it easier to fire workers.

Two noisy marches crisscrossed the heart of the Italian capital Saturday, snarling traffic for hours. Protesters cheered CGIL labor confederation head Susanna Camusso when she promised more protests and strikes unless Renzi abandons efforts to give employers considerably more leeway to fire workers. The center-left premier contends employers now fear hiring workers they cannot dismiss in case business sours. He says the measure would help heal Italy's recession-mired economy.

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Nationwide, unemployment tops more than 12 percent. Nearly one of every two youths is unemployed, with many going abroad to find work. Renzi's main goal of economic growth has so far proved elusive.