The people of Vincenza in Italy have held a referendum on the expansion of a United States air base, even though permission for the ballot was denied by the State Council.
Locals, furious at plans to enlarge the Dal Molin base, bringing it within the city limits, decided to take matters into their own hands.
Polling booths have been open all day with the blessing of the leftist mayor, Achille Variati, who has faced heavy criticism from the Berlusconi-led majority.
Demonstrations have been going on for nearly two years in Vincenza involving thousands of people.
Locals have stormed council meetings, blocked traffic, staged sit-ins, strikes and even sat down across runways.
The base was the result of an agreement between the previous Berlusconi government and the former mayor of the town. But a much larger base, encroaching on Vincenza’s northern suburbs, was always planned to serve as a rapid reaction site for strategic targets in the Middle-East.