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Three Molotov cocktails found at home of pro-Tav Senator

Threats may be coming from opponents of high-speed rail

13 January, 13:44
Three Molotov cocktails found at home of pro-Tav Senator (ANSA) - Turin, January 13 - Political allies were rallying Monday around Democratic Party (PD) Senator Stefano Esposito after Molotov cocktails were found earlier in the day outside his home in the northwestern city of Turin.

Police said they suspect the fire bombs, which did not explode, were placed there to intimidate the Senator over his support for a controversial high-speed rail project connecting France with northern Italy, known as the Tav.

Esposito, who is vice-chairman of the Senate's transportation committee, has previously received threats.

The Molotov cocktails were placed on the doorstep of his home, hidden inside a garbage bag. Police said no one has claimed responsibility, and they are now reviewing film from surveillance cameras in the area.

"It is with great concern that we see yet another act of intimidation against...Esposito," said Pietro Di Lorenzo, secretary general of the regional Siap union representating State police officers.

He praised "the courageous stance of Esposito," in defense of the project despite the "continuous violent threats" by some elements of the opposition to the Tav project.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Maurizio Lupi said the government would not "retreat an inch" on the Tav project that he said is of strategic importance for Italy.

"I'm with Senator Esposito and not with the cowards who attack and threaten him," said Lupi. Previously, Premier Enrico Letta has condemned the sometimes violent protests against the high-speed railway plan, saying some demonstrators have acted excessively.

Protesters have attacked regional offices of the center-left Democratic Party to convey their disapproval of the project, which supporters say will reduce highway traffic and associated pollution and improve efficiency.

Opponents argue the project linking Turin to Lyon is wasteful of public funds and will destroys pristine countryside.

"What is happening against Senator Stefano Esposito cannot but cause concern and alarm," said Senator Altero Matteoli of the opposition Forza Italia party (FI) and chairman of the Senate's public works committee.

He added that he is concerned that behind "these threats, intimidation and violence is someone hatching a plan much more dramatic and destabilizing".

"Do not lower our guard and do not minimize the face of such serious incidents," added Antonio Ferrentino, mayor of Sant'Antonio di Susa, where much of the work on the project is now centered.