ROME — Police vans and lines of officers in riot gear are blocking access to much of Rome's historic center to keep thousands of student protesters from reaching Parliament.
Lawmakers on Tuesday are voting on a contested reform bill many students and professors say will give the private sector too much involvement in the state university system. They claim funding cuts means faculty positions are going unfilled.
Similar protests snarled other cities, including Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Palermo and Bari. In Genoa, students protested under the slogan "they block our future, we block the cities."
Police blockades in Rome prevented several lines of marchers from converging on the square outside the Chamber of Deputies and blocked bus and tram routes.
Elsewhere, police and protesters briefly clashed.