Dozens Injured in Clash Over Planned High-Speed Rail Line in Italy

Some 30 people were injured on Monday in a clash between local police and demonstrators protesting against a planned high-speed rail line in northern Italy, police said.

Local media said the clashes took place as construction workers were ready to work on the line in the Susa Valley near Turin. Police in Turin said the injured included 25 police officers and several demonstrators.

Police fired teargas to disperse the protesters and demolished barricades with heavy mechanized shovels.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni pledged on Sunday that work on the project would go ahead before Thursday. "If that wasn't the case, we would be saying good-bye to hundreds of millions in European subventions, but particularly to connections with Europe, and also we would be saying good-bye to the future," he said.

France and Italy signed a deal in 2001 on building a high-speed line to decrease travel time between Milan and Paris from seven hours to four, and form a strategic link in the European network.

The cost has been estimated at 15 billion euros (21 billion U.S. dollars). But residents of the Susa Valley have strongly opposed the plan, saying the construction of tunnels would damage local environment.

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