One of the biggest ever trials linked to allegations of asbestos poisoning has opened in Italy.
The former owner of the Swiss construction firm Eternit is being tried in absentia on charges linked to more than 2,000 deaths.
A former executive from Belgium is also on trial.
Some 700 people launched a joint class-action in a court in Turin.
One woman outside the court said: “We’ve waited … we’ve suffered with our dear deceased and with the suffering that still goes on. But today, here we are. Before and even more so today we have a real hope of getting justice.”
The accusations relate to Eternit factories where it is claimed work safety rules were breached.
Those seeking compensation include former workers but also residents who lived nearby.
Lawyers for the accused, who face jail terms if convicted, say any responsibility lies with Eternit managers in Italy.
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