The Fiorn-Cgil union claims 100,000 people joined two marches which met at the Italian capital’s Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano.
Left-wing activists swelled the ranks of the demonstrations, which started as opposition to proposed changes in the car industry but has broadened to a general criticism of the government’s economic policies.
“The social situation is very difficult,” declared Guglielmo Epifani, the leader of the Cgil, which is the country’s largest union federation. “The country is on a downward slope and is not recovering as it should. Unemployment is rising.”