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Communists organize Rome's biggest rally ever

More than 500,000 workers, drawn by the Communist Party from all across Italy , marched in the largest political demonstration in Rome's history Saturday to protest the government's economic austerity measures. Police estimated the turnout at 550,000.

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The demonstration - backed only by the Communist Party and its labor union, the General Labor Confederation - was organized to protest the economic policies of Italy's first Socialist-led government.

It came a day after Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi's five-party coalition government easily won a crucial confidence vote on its austerity plan, which would partly freeze the system linking wages to the cost-of-living index.

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