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Italy high-speed rail tunnel: Fresh clashes in Alps

03 July 11 17:08
A protester holds a flag reading "No TAV" during a protest against the construction of a high-speed train line, the TAV, on 3 July.

Police have again clashed with demonstrators in the Italian Alps over the construction of a new high-speed rail link with France.

At least 30 police and carabinieri officers were injured in the clashes in the Val di Susa area, west of Turin.

A protester and a tunnel worker were also hurt, police said.

Residents fear that, despite safeguards built into the multi-billion euro project, an area of outstanding natural beauty is going to be spoilt.

Five protesters were arrested during Sunday's clashes by the police, who were pelted with stones and other objects.

Police blamed the disruption on left-wing "black bloc" extremists from Italy and neighbouring countries, AFP news agency reported.

Despite environmental objections, the Italian government is determined to press ahead with the project, which is heavily backed by EU money and is estimated to cost 15bn euros (£13bn).

Tunnelling has begun for a line from Turin to Lyon, which is expected to cut the travel time by nearly half.

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