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Students block the highway in Bologna, Italy, on Tuesday as they protest against government-proposed education reforms. ((Gianfilippo Oggioni/Associated Pres))

Students took to the streets Tuesday in Italy and Britain to protest high tuition fees and proposed government reforms in education.

In Rome, police vans and lines of officers in riot gear blocked access to much of the city's historic centre to keep thousands of student protesters from reaching the Italian parliament.

Lawmakers on Tuesday were voting on a contested reform bill many students and professors said will give the private sector too much involvement in the state university system. They claim funding cuts mean faculty positions are going unfilled.

Similar protests snarled other cities, including Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Palermo, Bari and Genoa.

Meanwhile in London, students held a third day of protests Tuesday over plans to triple university tuition fees. Police urged the students to avoid the violence that marked earlier demonstrations.

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A police officer tussles with a protester in London, on Tuesday as British students hold a third day of protests over planned tuition increases. (Dominic Lipinski/Associated Press))

School and university students braved snow in London for a rally in Trafalgar Square against the decision to increase university fees to about $14,300 Cdn a year as part of government deficit-cutting measures.

Rows of police officers lined up near Parliament, blocking a group of several hundred demonstrators who tried to approach.

Rallies and sit-ins were scheduled in university towns across the country.

With files from The Associated Press