Protesters hold three-day rally Dal Molin construction site
Stars and Stripes
Roughly 200 demonstrators occupied a portion of the Dal Molin airfield in northern Italy for a three-day protest that started Saturday morning.
The protest group "No Dal Molin" cut through a fence, catching Italian authorities off-guard with their impromptu rally to oppose expansion plans of the airfield and nearby U.S. Army base in Vicenza, according to Italian news reports.
The activists were demonstrating against excavations and construction projects on the airfield.
The congregating protesters couldn’t disrupt any flights at the one-runway airfield, however, because flight operations were halted in October to pave the way for construction, said Loredana Rosati, a spokeswoman for the Italian civilian airport authority ENAC.
Talks between city and airport authority officials and representatives of the demonstrators were scheduled for late Monday to put an end to what ENAC has called an "illegal" activity.
For several years, the U.S. and Italian governments have talked about the prospect of the U.S. Army using the Italian military property nearest to a downtown facility, Caserma Ederle, to house a consolidated 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. Four of the brigade’s six battalions are currently based in Germany.
The talks have spurred dozens of demonstrations against U.S. foreign policy, militarism and globalization. Some local residents also expressed concerns about the local water supply, increased traffic and loss of green space.