Greenpeace's anti-offshore drilling demo

Ahead of April 17 national referendum

(ANSA) - Rome, February 24 - Greenpeace activists on Wednesday staged a demonstration in front of the Altar of the Fatherland in Rome's Piazza Venezia to protest against the government's energy plan and urge Italians to vote at a referendum on April 17 on offshore drilling for oil and gas in Italy.
    The Constitutional Court last month gave the green light to the referendum, a decision welcomed by regional councils and environmentalists concerned about the effects of offshore drilling on marine ecosystems.
    The referendum will cover the duration of prospecting authorizations as well as already authorized drilling. It was proposed by regional assemblies who oppose drilling platforms in earthquake-prone, attractive marine environments.
    "Drills pose a grave threat to our seas and this is sufficient motive to reject them," said Andrea Boraschi, who is in charge of the Greenpeace Energy and Climate campaign.
    "They are also a senseless energy strategy which condemns Italy to rely on fossil sources - a favour to the oil lobbies that greatly endangers key economic sectors such as tourism and fishing," he said.
    Also on Wednesday, Greenpeace launched a new online campaign at The government has said there will be no new drilling off Italy's coasts no matter how the referendum turns out. As well, the ruling Democratic Party (PD) made known that Italians who are temporarily residing abroad can vote in the April 17 drilling referendum.
    Citizens living abroad must contact their home municipality by February 25 in order to receive their ballot papers, a PD official said.