Rome throws carrots and sticks at Naples rubbish

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Rome throws carrots and sticks at Naples rubbish

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The Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni has threatened a clampdown on violent protests over the waste disposal crisis around Naples, where rubbish has been piling up in the streets.

Another meeting is due on Tuesday between government and local officials, furious at plans for a new dump near the city at Terzigno.

As protesters there marched peacefully on Sunday, the opening was put on hold indefinitely. But local mayors want the scheme abandoned.

Rome’s efforts to be conciliatory over the problem have fallen on deaf ears. The government has promised 14 million euros to clean up the existing dump, which residents say is dangerous.

“We don’t care about money. This concerns the health of our people,” said Terzigno mayor Domenico Auricchio, angrily. “We decided the second dump is not going to be opened, that means it mustn’t be. Otherwise I’ll become a warrior. I’m not kidding.”

The region’s waste disposal industry has long been plagued by corruption and organised crime.

The government has proposed sending waste to an incinerator and other landfill sites. But the EU says action taken since the last rubbish crisis in 2008 is insufficient. It has threatened Italy with more legal action and hefty fines, further embarrassing Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

The past week has seen almost nightly clashes between police and demonstrators.

Sunday night was relatively calm, although a policeman was injured and three young people were arrested.