Up to a 100 miners armed with explosives have barricaded themselves in tunnels nearly 400m underground at a mine on the island of Sardinia.
Their aim is to put pressure on the Italian government to prevent the closure of the country’s only pit.
The miners are from the 460-strong workforce at the Carbosulcis pit west of Cagliari. They seized 350 kilos of company explosive and locked themselves in on Sunday night ahead of a government meeting this week to discuss the mine’s future.
One worker who has been employed there for 28 years said the protesters are worried about losing their jobs. They say they are prepared to stay there until they get a response from the government.
The miners would like to see the pit diversify into other activities to preserve employment such as the storage of pollutants to mitigate global warming.
In 1995 protesting miners occupied the pit for 100 days.