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Italy has been shocked by this video of police seizing a ten-year-old boy at the centre of a bitter custody battle.

Officers took the boy outside his school in Cittadella, near Padua.

The footage was shot by his aunt. It has since gone viral on the Internet, and been broadcast by several top Italian television channels.

Child protection officials said they had tried to pick up the boy at his mother’s house, but she refused to allow him to be reunited with his father.

They acted on the orders of a Venice court, which recently ruled that he should be handed over.

Italy’s national police chief told the ANSA news agency that he was profoundly sorry for the way the situation was handled.

On Thursday, the boy’s mother and her supporters held a protest outside the school to voice their anger over the affair.

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