Anti-rail protesters clashed with police on Wednesday in northern Italy as they demonstrated against a high-speed rail link between Lyon in France and Turin, Italian news agency ANSA said.

"/> Anti-rail protesters clashed with police on Wednesday in northern Italy as they demonstrated against a high-speed rail link between Lyon in France and Turin, Italian news agency ANSA said.

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LYON

Protesters clash over high speed rail link

Anti-rail protesters clashed with police on Wednesday in northern Italy as they demonstrated against a high-speed rail link between Lyon in France and Turin, Italian news agency ANSA said.

Protesters clash over high speed rail link
Luis Argerich

The clash broke out when police evicted protesters who for two days had blocked a stretch of highway between Turin and Bardonecchia.

As police cleared their barricades, protesters set fire to tyres and threw rocks at police, who responded by launching tear-gas grenades, ANSA reported.

The high-speed rail link — projected to cost €20 billion ($26 billion) — would allow a connection between Paris and Milan in just over four hours compared to seven at the moment and between Lyon and Turin in less than two hours.

The project is considered a strategic European transport corridor.

Part of the population in the scenic Val di Susa is against the project, which is expected to be completed in 2023, and it has become a focus point for wider social protests against the Italian government.

On Monday, a leader in the protest movement was gravely injured when he climbed onto an electricity pylon during a demonstration.

More demonstrations are planned on Thursday in Rome.

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RAIL

French union calls for national rail strike in July

The hardline CGT union has called for a national strike on the railways in July in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

French union calls for national rail strike in July
Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

The union is calling on all members across the country to strike on Thursday, July 1st, saying: “For our salaries, our jobs, our rights, for a protected status for all railway workers – everyone on strike!”

However, the strike only involves a single union so is unlikely to cause widespread disruption of the type seen during the mass transport strikes of December 2019 and January 2020, in which all transport unions joined together to take action in protest over pension reforms.

Public sector workers in France are legally obliged to give 48 hours’ notice of their intention to strike, and SNCF usually publishes revised strike timetables 24 hours in advance of industrial action.

This strike targets SNCF, so could affect national train routes and the Paris RER suburban train service, but not the Paris Metro or bus routes, which are run by RATP.

Separately, airport workers are also calling for a strike in July in a dispute over contract renegotiatons.

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