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Saturday, 5 October, 2002, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Italians march against Iraq war
A protest in Venice by the Disobedient Society
Venice saw protests, so did Rome, Milan and other cities

Thousands of anti-war demonstrators have been holding protest marches in various Italian cities.

In Venice, a group of about 100 student protesters briefly occupied the British Honorary Consul's office before handing in a letter opposing any conflict in Iraq to be forwarded to the British Government.

Protesters outside the US embassy in Rome
Protesters tried to chain themselves to the US embassy in Rome
The American authorities have advised their citizens living in Italy to avoid attending any street demonstrations which they warn might get out of hand.

But the protest marches held by students, pacifists, and anti-globalisation groups in Rome, Naples, Milan, Florence, and many other smaller cities all passed off peacefully.

The Italian left-wing is traditionally pacifist. Many student organisations joined in Saturday's demonstrations.

Monks' support

In Florence, the monks who live in the famous cloister of Santa Croce, rang their church bells in support of the demonstrators.

Burning effigies of Silvio Berlusconi and George W Bush in Milan
Marchers opposed support given by the Italian leader to the US president
In Rome, a group of young women who tried to chain themselves to the railings in front of the American embassy, were prevented from doing so by police.

The governing centre-right coalition in Rome, led by Silvio Berlusconi, is being broadly supportive of President Bush's war on terrorism.

This week the Italian parliament authorised the sending of 1,000 Italian troops to Afghanistan to continue the hunt for al-Qaeda supporters.

But, in general, Italians are much less enthusiastic about the prospect of joining America and Britain in any joint military actions against Iraq, aimed at changing the regime there.


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 VOTE RESULTS
Should the weapons inspectors go into Iraq now?

Yes
 79.51% 

No
 20.49% 

61425 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

04 Oct 02 | Middle East
03 Oct 02 | Middle East
02 Oct 02 | Middle East
05 Oct 02 | Europe
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