Protests won’t block Naples gates anymore
Stars and Stripes March 7, 2006
Drivers coming to and from the Naval Support Activity Naples Support Site in Italy now will face sporadic traffic delays — rather than blockades — caused by protesters, Italian authorities told base officials.
Naples base officials sent an all-hands e-mail to personnel late Monday afternoon stating that local authorities will no longer allow those protesting to completely block the base’s two gates. The demonstrators are protesting the loss of their jobs as cleaners at the Navy Lodge.
The decision comes during the fourth day of protests, which kicked off after the Navy Lodge cleaning contract was taken over by a new company that brought its own workers Wednesday.
The change is expected to ease traffic to and from the site on Tuesday. On Monday morning, Italian police closed the Gricignano highway off ramp because of continuing protests outside the front gate. Base officials told people to avoid the support site unless necessary.
Both Gricignano gates were closed for a time Monday morning after a protest-free weekend.
A few dozen protesters caused a daylong shutdown of the base elementary and high schools and have caused cancellations or schedule changes for on-base college classes.
The Naples elementary and high school openings were pushed back to 10 a.m. Monday because of traffic disruptions caused by the protests.
Base officials have been updating personnel about the protests by e-mail and on AFN television, warning people not to confront the protesters.
One e-mail Monday stated that “Navy representatives are fully engaged with local authorities outside the gates in an attempt to expedite the resolution of an Italian vs. Italian labor situation.”
Asked to clarify what Navy representatives are involved and what they are doing, public affairs officials responded by saying that base security personnel have been working with local Italian police and carabinieri to ensure that any interaction between protesters and base personnel is peaceful and orderly. Protesters told Stars and Stripes on Friday that they would continue their protests until they receive their jobs back.