George Clooney and his bride unfazed by the angry protesters in Venice

Council workers sent an open letter to the Hollywood star asking him to support their cause

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The Independent Online

Emerging from Venice’s 14th-century town hall after a short civil ceremony, George Clooney and his bride Amal Alamuddin were greeted by excited shouts and banners waving in the sunshine.

These were not wellwishers however, but council workers protesting at the prospect of having their salaries cut, hoping that the new power couple might be in the mood to lend support to their campaign.

“After the wedding, adopt a worker,” read one banner. They had sent an open letter to the Hollywood star, urging him to back their cause in fighting plans to axe the budget and slash their pay.

While the actor has been outspoken in making political statements in the past, he steered clear of getting involved in the local politics to the disappointment of the protesters.

As they exited in a chauffeur-driven taxi boat, Clooney drew his wife’s attention to the crowds on the opposite shore, and they stopped briefly to wave. Clooney then ushered Alamuddin inside, looking up at the city employees watching from the surrounding buildings and pointing inside with his thumb as if to say, “I gotta go.”

Council workers were not the only locals calling on Clooney to give a little bit back to Venice. Cecilia Tonon, president of the Masegni & Nizioleti Association, which campaigns for the preservation of the city, also tried to enlist Clooney to her cause.

Ahead of another of the group’s “cleaning days”, she told The Independent that she had wanted the superstar to join volunteers in the symbolic scrubbing clean one of the walls covered in a graffiti, – unfortunately, a common sight in the World Heritage Site city. “We wouldn’t expect him to do much cleaning, but seeing as he’s come here and enjoyed the beauty of the city for his wedding, it would be nice if he could support the local people in our struggle to preserve it,” she said.

“It seems George might want to go into politics in America, so this might give him a taste of what to expect,” said Claudia Visser, a local authority environmental officer protesting nearby.

Some Venetians have expressed annoyance that  Clooney and his entourage are removed from the reality of the city.

One angry woman demanded to know why Clooney had been given such special status. “I want to know who’s paying for all this,” she shouted at local journalists. “He’s not a head of state.”

Under emergency budget manoeuvres, Venice city workers may see their salaries slashed by 25 per cent, from €2,500 to €2,000 (£390 in total) a month. The crisis was in part prompted by the collapse of the city’s leadership earlier this year in the wake of a huge – even by Italian standards – corruption scandal involving kickbacks in the construction of the €7bn   (£5.5) Moses flood barrier.

But Mr Clooney seemed unfazed by the shouting, waving to the fans packed outside the water front Ca’ Farsetti palazzo after the civil cerremony confirming that he and Ms Alamuddin, 36, were married under Italian law.

They emerged about 20 minutes later with the former Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, who performed both ceremonies. Mr Veltroni sent the couple off, hugging Clooney and kissing Alamuddin on the cheek.

They continued up the Grand Canal and under the arched Rialto Bridge, crowded with more well-wishers screaming “George, George”, before disappearing up a one-way canal. Clooney’s water taxi driver, who has ferried the actor around on his frequent trips to Venice, was later seen at the airport and said that the couple had left.

One local, a 41-year-old water-taxi driver, Matteo, said: “I think Clooney probably sympathises with them. But I not sure that someone with all his money, really understands their problems. Anyway, he’s got other things on his mind – like his honeymoon, for example.”

“We needed a little bit of good news,” Roberto Doni, a vegetable seller told The Daily Beast as he unloaded pumpkins on the Grand Canal. “It’s nice to have a fairytale moment in the middle of this nightmare time.”

The last couple to exchange vows before the Hollywood star and his new bride arrived was Stefanie Eddinger and Gerald Frieder, from Vienna. The couple enjoyed the energy from the crowd outside awaiting the celebrity newlyweds.

`’They picked our day,” Mr Frieder said, stepping outside into a shower of confetti.

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