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Subject: Rome police 'call in sick' on New Year's Eve

Written By: Philip Eno on 01/02/15 at 7:36 pm

More than three-quarters of the local police officers due to work on New Year's Eve in Rome called in sick, it's been reported.

Of about 1,000 police officers who had been available to work, 83.5% were absent on the night, La Repubblica website reports. An estimated 600,000 people took to the streets of the Italian capital to welcome in the New Year, and the mayor's office says in the end everything went off without a hitch. But Italian officials have slammed the absence figures, with cabinet minister Marianna Madia tweeting that disciplinary action could be taken against those involved. Rome's police commander was equally damning, describing the absences as "absolutely unjustified". "I can only condemn the attitude of those who have tried to sabotage the New Year festivities," says Cdr Raffaele Clemente, adding that the action had "put at risk people's safety but also the good name of the entire local police force and the city of Rome."

The police have been at loggerheads with the city government for months over new rules on working practices and pay, according to Il Fatto Quotidiano. Italian media are reporting that they're now preparing to strike, with Francesco Croce of Italy's UIL union saying there will be a "crescendo of protests" in the capital. Rome also saw trouble on the metro on New Year's Eve, where delays were put down to there only being seven drivers available, when 24 were needed to run the line.

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