Servicemembers in Naples warned to steer clear of garbage protesters
January 8, 2008
NAPLES, Italy — The trash crisis in Naples has reached dangerous levels — beyond overflowing trash bins.
Officials at Naval Support Activity Naples on Monday issued a statement informing servicemembers that access roads to the Carney Park recreational facility were blocked due to ongoing protests over the crisis.
Some servicemembers using the facility last week found themselves barricaded in a traffic circle once they left the park. Carney Park is west of the Pianura neighborhood, where city officials are attempting to reopen a dump site that has been closed for more than a decade.
Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Delany, who works at the NATO base in nearby Pozzuoli, said that as motorists entered the traffic circle leading to the highway they found themselves trapped by hastily placed barricades of stacked tires and overturned trash bins.
“Once we got into the traffic circle, four or five guys started bringing spare tires out and blocked the road by stacking them up three and four tires high,” Delany said. “All the spokes (of the traffic circle) were blocked off by trucks, tires and trash bins.
“It felt like we were in a movie — as soon as we got into the traffic circle, the tires were rolled out behind us,” he said.
There were local police on the scene, Delany said, but they didn’t assist commuters out of the blockade.
Delany said they were assisted by one of the protesters who moved a few tires aside — just enough for a vehicle to get out.
Base officials at Capodichino said they didn’t receive any reports on incidents over the weekend, but were monitoring the protests.
“Our security personnel have close relationships with the local Italian police should anything arise that needs that level of attention,” said Navy Capt. Floyd Hehe, commanding officer for Naval Support Activity Naples. “Personnel are reminded to avoid areas where there are protesters and to avoid areas where garbage piles are burning.”
That is becoming increasingly difficult. With so much garbage left uncollected, trash fires are lit frequently on streets, by highways and in neighborhoods around the city.
Italian press service ANSA reported numerous clashes between protesters and police Monday as workers attempted to bring building materials into the area to begin work on the dump site.