French police crack down on protesters over Italy train project
The new high-speed train between France and Italy is controversial due to some believing it will harm the Alpine environment.
French police teargassed protesters on Saturday after they attempted to halt the building of a new high-speed rail route between France and neighboring Italy, claiming it would devastate the fragile Alpine ecosystem.
According to organizers, 5,000 protesters showed up near the village of Saint Remy-de-Maurienne in southeastern France defying an official prohibition on the assembly. Police reported only 3,000.
Police then used tear gas when a faction of protesters allegedly threw projectiles at them.
Protesters also stormed a nearby railroad and suspended operations in the early afternoon.
The European Union is backing the new route, which will eventually connect Lyon, France, and Turin, Italy, via a 57.5-kilometer (36-mile) tunnel over the Alps.
The estimated cost is more than 26 billion euros (more than $28 billion).
The project is expected to ease freight traffic but those against it say the ecological damage risks are devastating, noting that springs are already starting to dry up due to the works.