Demonstrators are preparing for a big protest today against the extension of a US military base in Vicenza in Italy. Organisers say they are hoping there will be as many as 80,000 protesters. They are angry at the government’s recent approval of the expansion project.
Even some of Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s leftist allies are expected to join in the march. Organisers insist the protest will be closely controlled, after the government voiced concerns that things could turn ugly. “We have people who will direct each different group of protesters to the right place,” said one organiser.
“What we would like is that Americans invade Italy as holidaymakers,” said another protest organiser. “We don’t want them here as soldiers.” The US embassy in Rome has advised Americans in Italy to avoid Vicenza and the base over the next few days.