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Antonio Romano, who was distributing leaflets to protesters, said the government’s strategy is “make the workers and retired people pay for the crisis, not those who provoked the crisis. I mean big business, bankers.”

A transit strike of several hours idled the subway system and many buses in Rome. Milan was hit by a similar transit walkout.

State railways said a 24-hour nationwide train strike, called by one small union, affected only 5 percent of the train rains.

Alitalia reduced flights Thursday, warning that a four-hour afternoon strike in the air travel sector could cause flight delays. The walkout mainly involved air traffic controllers and airport workers, not Alitalia personnel.

Victor L. Simpson contributed from Rome.