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Rome rioting said to cost over €1 million

Italy is counting the cost of yesterday’s riots as “Occupy” protests turned violent.

Image: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

ROME’S MAYOR SAID today that it could cost at least €1 million to recover from the havoc wreaked by rioters who smashed windows, tore up sidewalks and torched vehicles after breaking off from a peaceful protest.

The estimate came as clean-up work continued in damaged neighbourhoods, where many charred vehicles remained parked along the streets.

About 135 people were injured – many of them police officers, reports Italy’s Ansa news agency.

The hundreds of rioters infiltrated a march yesterday by tens of thousands of demonstrators unhappy about the global financial crisis – part of a worldwide version of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.

The protesters – some wearing gas masks and many in hoods – ripped up cobblestones and slabs of sidewalk to hurl at police and buildings, and smashed windows with hammers. Police responded with water hoses and tear gas. Protesters also stormed into a church, tore a crucifix off the wall and smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno inspected the damaged neighborhood near St. John in Lateran Basilica on Sunday. He called the rioters “animals” and told reporters that repairs to city property, including streets and sidewalks, will cost at least €1 million.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said he would brief the Senate on Tuesday about the rioting and the measures to be taken to avoid a replay.

Maroni told a news conference that he has urged investigators to “carefully study the images” that might have been captured by bank and other surveillance cameras so the rioters could be brought to justice “and pay for what they did in an exemplary way.”

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According to The Guardian, police are already sifting through hours of video to identify the ringleaders.

About 950 cities across 80 countries saw some kind of “Occupy Wall Street”-inspired protests yesterday.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, about 175 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave a city park after it was closed.

-Additional reporting by AP

Read: Arrests in Chicago, New York and Rome following global day of action>

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