Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has issued a warning to potential activists in the country to think again before taking to the streets.
His comments came as police blocked a protest against the inauguration of a new incinerator plant near Naples. Around three hundred people took part in the rally in the town of Acerra, 20 kilometres north of Naples. Refuse is expected to be burnt in the incinerator, without being sorted, which they said would endanger people’s health and the environment. Police stopped the protestors before they reached the inauguration ceremony, sparking the warning. “Today we see the end of the era of violent protests, where a small organised minority occupies the highways, blocks the airports, occupies whole zones to hinder projects and in other words, goes against the decisions, made democratically, of democratically-elected institutions,” said Silvio Berlusconi. At its worst, the rubbish crisis in Naples saw hundreds of thousands of tonnes of garbage rotting in the streets. Collectors had stopped picking up trash because dumps were full and residents protested against new ones. There were allegations of corruption and mafia involvement as well. But Berlusconi says the incinerator in Acerra and the three more planned over the next few years will bring an end to the less than fragrant episode.