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Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK

UK Politics

Wish you weren't here

Nato's bombing upset some Tuscans

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair may be looking forward to his summer holiday in Tuscany, but local communists have made it clear that he will not be welcome.

Kosovo: Special Report
The Rifondazione Comunista party plans to stage demonstrations during the Blair family's visit next month in protest at the prime minister's role in the Kosovo conflict.

Roberto Pucci: "We're against his visit because of his position on Kosovo"
The party's leader, Roberto Pucci, has accused Mr Blair of adopting a "warrior's" stance on the Balkan crisis.

"We are against Tony Blair's holiday in Tuscany because of the positions he has taken over the war in Kosovo and the bombing of Iraq.

"It's against the view of the Tuscan people," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

[ image: Tony Blair: Accused of taking a 'warrior's' stance]
Tony Blair: Accused of taking a 'warrior's' stance
"Blair took up extreme positions on bombing and the use of ground troops.

"We believe this was wasn't the way to solve the problem or to fight the dictatorship of Milosevic because it just provoked more massacres.

"All this makes Blair an unwelcome guest of Tuscany.

"We intend to make it clear to Blair what we think of his warlike policies so we will be organising peaceful demonstrations and sending a letter to him so that he knows what a part of Italian and Tuscan society thinks of him."

'They are using him as a target'

Sergio Romano: "Blair may see some demonstrators"
Tuscany is the favourite holiday destination of the Blairs and their three children. This year they are due to stay in a well-guarded luxury villa behind the walls of a government-owned natural park in the central Italian region.

Sergio Romano, a journalist with the Milan-based newspaper, Corriere della Sera, believes the protestors are trying to make political capital.

But he doubts they will spoil the Blairs' holiday.

"Blair was very visible during the war, undoubtedly at times, in Italy. He was portrayed by the left as being more of a hawk than President Clinton. So it is quite obvious they are using him as a target to get as much publicity as they can."

He added: "I don't think that the demonstrations are going to be very important they aren't going to be able to mobilise lots of people, especially during the summer.

"But they are going to get into the newspapers undoubtedly and for them it will be a relatively good thing as they are looking for political visibility ever since they stopped supporting the government and they joined the political opposition.

"I imagine Mr Blair will see some demonstrators when he gets in and out of the natural park but not much more than that."

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