Bomb injures senior policeman in Italy rail demo

ROME, July 22 (Reuters) – A senior Italian police officer was injured in violent clashes with demonstrators protesting against a planned high speed rail link between France and northern Italy, officials said on Sunday.

The head of a police special operations unit in Turin, Giuseppe Petronzi, was hurt by an improvised explosive device during the confrontation on Saturday night in Val di Susa in the far north of Italy, when police fired teargas at supporters of “No-Tav”, the anti high-speed rail movement.

“What happened last night in Val di Susa was not a demonstration of dissent, it was violence,” Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri said in a statement.

The authorities would ensure that construction work could go ahead, she added, pledging “maximum toughness” against violent demonstrations.

The latest in a long line of clashes follows months of confrontations over the high-speed rail link which has become a focus for anti-establishment protests, fuelling concern over a spike in violent demonstrations during the economic crisis.

Video footage released by police showed young black-clad demonstrators hurling rocks and flares at squads of police in riot gear around a construction site in the thickly wooded mountain valley.

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