A strike in Italy shut many schools across the country and generated large demonstration The strike which was called by the COBAS union and which included other public sector workers and transport workers  as well as teachers and students toook place on January 28th. The strike was in opposition to the neo-liiberal Berlusconi government which as well as promoting neo-liberal policies of privatisation and cuts in public services is producing lurid headlines around the world because of the behaviour of Berlusconi himself and some of his government. Below is a report from the  COBAS union: HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND IN THE STREETS OF ITALIAN CITIES AGAINST THE ARROGANCE OF THE RULING CLASS AND THE GOVERNMENT 28/1/2011 Among  brothel miasma  exhaling from  the palaces of power, today in the streets of tens of Italian cities,  hundreds of thousand workers and students have brought a breath of fresh air, of rebellion and protest  against the arrogance of the ruling class and the government.In the framework of the general strike called by COBAS (with a relevant  turnout in school -with an average of 25% in the main cities- but also in the health service, in the public service, Telecom and postal service,  in addition to the success of the public transport strike, predated of 2 days- between 50% and 90% in the main cities-) and the one called by FIOM for metalworkers, COBAS and other rank and file unions (with 70-80% joining in the most relevant provinces) workers of the public and private sectors, with many secondary school and university students, have demonstrated today to tell the country and the rest of the world that Italy is not that  horrifying and grotesque  reality outlined by the ultra-corrupted contortions of a power with no control  and  institutional, political, moral and cultural  restraints.  As COBAS, in particular, we have organized 16 demonstrations. In ROME, where we have had the largest one with 15000 workers, students and migrants in the streets of the city centre, TURIN, CAGLIARI, PALERMO, FLORENCE, NAPLES (Pomigliano), GENOA, TRIESTE, VENICE, LIVORNO, SALERNO, POTENZA (Melfi),TERNI, BARI, LANCIANO, SIRACUSE. In every demonstration and final speech the meaning of the strike was underlined: to defend workers attacked by the arrogance of a parasitical and reactionary ruling class, unable to innovate and plan, which is longing to turn waged workers into "neo-slaves" with third world countries salaries , and which would like to extend the Mirafiori shame agreement to the whole working world; to save schools and universities destroyed by heavy cuts in funding and work places; to oppose a spreading casualization at work and in life; to gain back incomes and proper  pensions, jobs, social services, common goods, national contracts-unblocking the public sector one-,union rights, dispossessed by compromising trade unions and denied millions of workers, COBAS and rank and file unions. There has been a  strong request of strengthening and expanding  that social front that today we have started to bring into play and which must knock over the politics of the ruling class and the government  by  having   the crisis paid for by  those who have caused it and have made a profit on it and not by the weaker and needy sectors  of society, unmasking the fake “opposition” in parliament and “collaborationist” unions.A ground swell of opposition  has been shown by demonstrators against the refusal of Fiom to come to common initiatives with COBAS and rank and file unions  in the various cities. From every place it has come the request of new occasions of joint fight, to come in fairly short time to a new date for a general strike with a wider protest front  and with a stronger unity of action than today, bypassing veto and bans and taking cognizance of the fact that the silence of the Cgil general secretary,  Camusso, to the request from Fiom to call for a general strike, yesterday in Bologna, is the final refusal from those who do not mean at all to really come to a conflict with the economic and political power. MAKE THEM PAY FOR THEIR CRISIS  Piero Bernocchi  national spokesman of COBAS -