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Home English Tensions rise between protesters at ILVA steel plant

Tensions rise between protesters at ILVA steel plant


(ANSA) - Taranto, September 26 - Tensions were running high
Wednesday at the troubled ILVA steel plant as workers protesting
its shutdown clashed with others who had health and
environmental concerns.
As many as 400 workers were protesting outside the plant in
this southern Italian city, some fighting court orders that are
forcing parts of the plant to shut down during environmental
At the same time, other workers were rallying in support of
whatever actions are needed to improve the steelworks that have
been blamed for decades of pollution believed to have caused
cancers and heightened risk of death in the community.
All were waiting for the results of the latest appeals by
the company made public Monday to continue operating the
steelworks as the upgrades are made.
Some of the protesters, fighting for their jobs in a region
of high unemployment, climbed up to a 70-meter high platform to
draw attention to the fears.
Tuesday evening, near one of the smelter's giant
smokestacks, some unfurled a banner calling for "Labour and
Dignity" before spending the night high above the ground to
continue their protest.
"Ours is a peaceful protest, we are not causing harm to
anyone," one protestor told Italian television, adding he hoped
a compromise between prosecutors and the company could be found.
"We hope that you find a solution...We are willing to do
anything to defend our work, we have children, we have family,
we have mortgages. We hope that all will be successful".
Others later raised banners calling for unity in protecting
health in the community and among the ILVA workforce.
At the same time, the city's Archbishop Philip Santoro
called for a day of prayers on Friday, along with a special Mass
"for unity" in dealing with the economic, social, and health
problems swirling around ILVA.
ILVA has for months been at the heart of a major industrial
and environmental dispute that fuelled headlines when a court in
the port town ordered the shutdown of its smelting facilities
and mineral park in July.
The court accused ILVA of emanating plumes of toxic dust
and other emissions that threaten the health of nearby
The partial shutdown sparked worker protests, strikes and a
flurry of meetings between government and business leaders to
find a way to save the plant, which is considered crucial for
Italian industry, and an important source of employment in
Italy's underdeveloped south.

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