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Paper bomb explodes near Italian parliament as taxi protests turn violent

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Paper bomb explodes near Italian parliament as taxi protests turn violent

A paper bomb went off near the Italian parliament in central Rome on Tuesday as hundreds of taxi drivers protested there over delays to Italian legislation regulating app-based Uber and car-hire services


The loud explosion shattered a large window in the seventeenth-century Palazzo Macchi di Cellere, prompting local shopkeepers to shutter their stores.

The blast spooked some protestors, who left the heavily policed Piazza di Monticitorio square, where the Italian parliament is located.

The bomb exploded as a Italy's transport minister Graziano Delrio met taxi union representatives in a bid to end a six-day strike by taxi drivers.

At least one demonstrator was injured on Tuesday during clashes with police outside the ruling Democratic Party's headquarters in central Rome, where police charged protestors who threw objects including glass bottles at officers and overturned tables and chairs at local bars and restaurants.

Videos were circulated on social media of a passer-by being beaten over the head with a baton, given first-aid by a reporter and taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Some protesters threw eggs at the Democratic Party headquarters and at Uber and car-hire drivers.

Many bus and tram lines in central Rome were diverted or running late after the central Piazza Venezia was closed to traffic and nearby Via del Corso and Via del Tritone thoroughfares were blocked by demonstrators.

Drivers from all over Italy joined the Rome protest, with an estimated 30 percent of Florence's taxi fleet in the capital, while wildcat strikes caused disruption to traffic in other major cities.

Taxi drivers say the legislation, which suspends until the end of 2017 norms to control car-hire and car-share services, helps Uber's "irregular" inroads into Italy's rigidly regulated taxi industry.

But supporters of the decree say Italians want greater choice in ride-sharing options.

Taxi services have been available to and from hospitals and for pregnant women and the disabled during the strike.



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