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Friday, 20 March, 1998, 16:59 GMT
Italians march for jobs and against crime
Both the employed and the unemployed protested in Naples
Both the employed and the unemployed protested in Naples
There have been demonstrations in the Naples region of southern Italy calling for tougher government action to combat unemployment and organised crime.

Tens of thousands took part in a march through Naples itself, and there were also protests in other towns and cities.

The action was organised by the main Trade Union Federation, which wants more jobs created and a campaign against organised crime.

The Federation is threatening a national strike unless the government takes urgent measures to deal with both problems.

Among the crowd that made its way noisily through the streets of Naples were local businessmen, students, politicians, priests and the mayors of other cities facing similar problems.

Quarter of the workforce unemployed

With 26% unemployment, Naples is a symbol of the under-development of Southern Italy.

The centre-left government is being accused of not maintaining its promises to the region.

A government aid package announced on Tuesday has been dismissed as inadequate as it consists largely of funds assigned several years ago but never spent.

Fausto Bertinotti, leader of the Communist Refoundation Party
Fausto Bertinotti, leader of the Communist Refoundation Party
The re-founded Communist Party, the government's ally, also took part in the rally and its leader Fausto Bertinotti re-iterated that their support for the government depended on putting employment back at the centre of the political agenda.

There were some scuffles between groups of unemployed and the police but the march passed off peacefully.

In the past week groups of long-term unemployed have carried out violent protests in Naples and Palermo.

Crackdown on crime demanded

The demonstration was also to demand tougher action against crime.

Naples has seen an upsurge of murders in recent months - the result of a gang war between rival families of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia.

The trade unions say the economic power of the Camorra is stifling the legal economy.

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