The Italian version of the Occupy Wall Street movement turned violent Satudary as protesters in Rome burned cars and smashed shop windows.
Tens of thousands of people -- perhaps as many as 100,000 people, according to Italian media -- rallied in Rome, making it one of the biggest demonstrations in what is quickly turning into a massive global movement against corporate greed and economic deprivation.
Police manned the streets to preserve order, one day after the highly controversial and widely unpopular Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote in parliament.
Some Roman police fired water cannons and tear-gas canisters against hundreds of protesters who allegedly threw bottles at them.
According to reports, the isolated incidents of violence in Rome were attributed to militants known as “black blocks,” who wear hoods and have infiltrated the otherwise peaceful demonstrations.
Reportedly, the militants have targeted offices of the Italian defense ministry, a labor office, and at least one bank. Some burned flags of Italy and the European Union (EU).
The financial health of Italy has become a grave concern for Europe. The government has passed an austerity budget to bring down the national debt ratio -- which is second only to Greece in the Eurozone -- but there are fears Italy may need a financial bailout at some point.
The Italian protesters received encouragement from a most unlikely source. The governor of the Bank of Italy, Mario Draghi, who is preparing to take over as the boss of European Central Bank (ECB) next month, told Italian reporters at the G-20 summit meeting in Paris: "Young people are right to be indignant. They're angry against the world of finance. I understand them ... We adults are angry about the crisis. Can you imagine people who are in their twenties or thirties?"