#NoTAV: Thousands of Italians protest high-speed railway construction in Turin

Image from wikipedia.org

Image from wikipedia.org

Several thousand people gathered in the center of Turin to protest against a controversial high-speed rail link between the city and Lyon. The line is slated to run through a small Alpine village.

According to the rally’s organizers, up to 10,000 people from all
over Italy took to Turin’s streets on Saturday. Local media
estimated the number at 4,000 people, La Repubblica newspaper
reported. The Italians were protesting the costly project that
could also ruin the Susa Valley’s ecology.

The protest was mostly peaceful, yet there were some moments of
tension when a group of people at the tail of the procession
started throwing eggs at a police station. People shouted
slogans, such as “Magistrates and journalists, you are
or “NoTav are dangerous terrorists? Let us
not laugh!”

The protesters got some help from an unexpected quarter: the
hacker group Anonymous put a spanner in the works of three
websites associated with the project: the court of Turin, the
Ministry of Economic Development, and the site of Democratic
Party Senator Stefano Esposito, who backs the TAV. The
compromised websites were restored by the evening.

Regarding the TAV (Treno ad Alta Velocità in Italian, or
“high-speed train”), which has been in planning for over
20 years, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport said:
“The approved project has undergone much analysis and many
proposals, developed by the Observatory on the Turin-Lyon in the
course of 235 meetings and discussions that also involved local

The leader of the #NoTAV movement, Alberto Perino, was present at
Castello Square, where the march culminated. He commented on a
situation in the morning, when authorities delayed supporters
from Milan and Brescia from coming to the meeting because someone
hadn’t paid for a train ticket. He also talked about the
“heavy sentences,” imposed by the court of Turin on
rioters in summer 2011, when massive and violent protests took

“It’s not fair, it is cowardly. This march is the best answer
to the judicial authorities that think they can stop us. We are
not simply optimistic, we are sure there will be no TAV,”

Perino said.

Opponents of the TAV project call it a “catastrophe,” as
some of the tunnels to connect Italian Turin with French Lyon
would be cut through uranium and asbestos ore. The resulting dust
would contaminate the Alpine valley. The line is also set to
expropriate agricultural lands and cost locals a fortune. Each
meter of track costs €153,000, and “every euro spent on the
TAV is a euro stolen from something useful for everyone.”

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