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Anti-dump protesters clash with police in Italy

October 21, 2010

ItalyROME – Demonstrators on Thursday set vehicles ablaze and hurled stones and firecrackers at police over plans to build a garbage dump at a national park, leaving 20 officers injured, authorities said.

The clashes highlighted the latest garbage crisis around the Naples area in southern Italy. Two years ago, Premier Silvio Berlusconi intervened to resolve an emergency caused when collectors stopped picking up trash because dumps were full and residents protested new ones.

Berlusconi called an emergency meeting to be held in Rome, likely on Friday, a statement from the premier's office said. The meeting will gather the ministers of interior, environment and economics, and the head of the Civil Protection Department.

The protests have been going on for a few days, but they escalated as protesters clashed with police after officials confirmed a decision to open a new dump in the Vesuvio National Park.

The police were escorting more than 30 garbage trucks to a dump in the municipality of Terzigno. The protesters blocked the garbage trucks from unloading at an existing site and police charged and used tear gas to disperse them.

By sundown Thursday, some 20 police officers had been injured, said Antonella Calvanese, a spokeswoman for the Naples police. Some garbage trucks and two police cars were set on fire, she said.

Naples and surrounding areas have suffered garbage crises for years, the result of corruption, poor management and infiltration by the local mob.

After a flare-up in late 2007 and 2008, the Berlusconi government reopened some old dumps, started shipping some garbage to Germany, and also ordered the construction of new dumps and incinerators as part of efforts to ease the problem. But critics of the government said the latest crisis shows Berlusconi had failed to find a long-term solution.

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UPDATE

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A Special Thanks to Amanda Heisey for this video:

 

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