Police clash with rioters in Venice lagoon showdown

Share this article

Screengrab: Corriere TV
08:27 CET+01:00
Police fired water cannon on Tuesday at protesters on boats in front of Venice's Saint Mark's Square, as they demonstrated against a Franco-Italian accord on a controversial high-speed rail link.

Waterborne officers sprayed high-powered jets onto around 20 small protest boats, some of which tried to ram through a blockade of police vessels, while demonstrators set off flares and chanted "cops out of the lagoon!"

The demo took place on the sidelines of a bilateral meeting between Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French President Francois Hollande, who signed an agreement to speed up the high-speed rail link's construction.

Critics say the TAV (Treno Alta Velocita or high speed train) between the French city of Lyon and Turin in northwest Italy will wreck a pristine Alpine valley and potentially release toxic asbestos particles into the environment.

The project is expected to cost €8.4 billion euros ($9.26 billion), 40 percent of which will be provided by the European Union under a scheme to promote strategic cross-border links, and is set to be completed by the late 2020s.

Supporters of the rail link say it will take a million lorries off Alpine roads each year once completed.

Story continues below…

Critics, who have included France's public spending watchdog, have argued that the same result could be achieved with a far less costly upgrade of existing tunnels and rail tracks.

Share this article

From our sponsors

Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections

Election Day in the U.S. is less than a month away, and time is running out for Americans living overseas to vote absentee. Here's what to do before it’s too late.


Popular articles