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No TAV movement disassociates itself from militant threat

'No right' to piggyback protest say high-speed rail opponents

19 February, 18:05
No TAV movement disassociates itself from militant threat (see previous).

(ANSA) - Turin, February 19 - A movement trying to stop a high-speed rail link between Italy and France on Wednesday disassociated itself from a militant group's death threats against officials protecting work on the line.

The 'No TAV' movement said the Nuclei Operativi Armati (Armed Operational Nuclei, NOA) had "no right" to try to piggyback its protest against the Treni Alta Velocità (TAV) line between Turin and Lyon.

"The No TAV movement has a special, popular, mass DNA, ready to openly practise civil disobedience without (giving) any space to violence," a statement from the group said.

"No one has any right to use the No TAV movement, and still less to try to replace the struggle the movement has decided and built up, collectively (and) openly," said the protesters, who have been demonstrating for years against the line, arguing that claims about its economic value are wrong and its impact on a pristine landscape will be devastating.

The NOA earlier threatened "armed struggle" against those defending the TAV extension north of Turin and said its "revolutionary court" had "condemned to death" officials and police who were allegedly "repressing" protests.

The NOA letter, sent to ANSA's offices in Turin and Bologna as well as the news agency's Rome HQ, came a day after a Carabiniere police officer was indicted in connection with clashes in the Susa Valley in July 2011.

Prosecutors, who have opened a probe, said NOA was "already known to us".

No-TAV protests, which have sometimes turned violent, have built up steam in recent years and been taken up by leftist and anti-capitalist groups despite government efforts to persuade opponents that it is an essential piece of infrastructure, especially when Italy's economy has been suffering its longest postwar recession.

The Italian and French governments have insisted that the link will not only speed passenger and freight traffic but also boost both countries' economies.

On February 7 Turin prosecutors requested a nine-month jail term for anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo after he visited an illegally built large mountain hut in 2010 that became a centre-piece of the protests. Grillo, who heads Italy's second-biggest party, is also under investigation by prosecutors in several Italian cities for allegedly inciting soldiers to stop protecting politicians.