Milan, Italy - Hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators fought violent battles with police in downtown Milan's financial center. A busy shopping thoroughfare was blocked off by makeshift barricades and burning cars. The protest was organized in opposition to a march organized by the fascist group 'Fiamma Tricolore' (Tricolour flame.) The group is represented on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ticket in the upcoming April elections.
Demonstrators, many of whom were armed with iron bars and wore protective headgear, threw flares and various other projectiles at the police. A nail bomb injured a number of officers. Protesters also caused extensive damage to a number of upscale shops and at least one McDonald's outlet. Police arrested 45 demonstrators, sometimes with brutal force.