Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes and other stars were greeted by angry protesters at the Rome Film Festival last night (Oct. 28) forcing the event to halt its red carpet procession, leaving the stars huddled inside the theater.

The protesters, largely film industry workers, are outraged over government cutbacks as Italy reels under austerity measures designed to shore up state finances.

“Culture is a right,” read one banner. “The credits are about people who work,” said another, according to London’s Daily Mail.

Avatar star Sam Worthington and French actor Guillaume Canet, opened the fifth edition of the Rome film festival, which runs until Nov. 5.

Knightley and Mendes were on hand to promote their new film, ” Last Night.” But about 800 people stormed and occupied the red carpet area to protest government funding cutbacks for cultural events.

Knightley and Mendes avoided the scene and were escorted into the theater with the film’s cast, surrounded by burley bodyguards.

In the film, based in New York City, Knightley’s character lives in a posh Manhattan loft and becomes jealous of her husband’s sexy new colleague, played by Mendes.

When he and Mendes go on a business trip together, Joanna bumps into her French former lover, and finds herself confronted with the same dilemmas about cheating as her husband.