Italy Uses Mussolini-Era Law To Place Community On Military Lockdown Over Pipeline Project

Italian authorities are using a Mussolini-era law to put an entire town under lockdown while they force through a gas pipeline against the wishes of the local community, activists have said.

A so-called “red zone” was declared around Melendugno by the central government’s military police force this month, after months of protests against the effect of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on the local area.

Activists on the ground who contacted The Independent say the police swooped in the middle of the night and barred people from leaving their homes, blockaded streets, and fenced off olive farms.

“Some locals have been expelled and cannot access Melendugno… for the next three years”, Sabina Giese, one resident of the town said.

“We need a pass to use the roads and go home, in the evening there is only police in the roads and everything else is closed and abandoned. People are scared to come to the sea and go in the restaurant. Economy and tourism are affected.”

The town, situated in the region of Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot, has been a centre of protests against the uprooting of thousands of centuries-old olive trees to make way for the pipeline.

The project is opposed by local residents and officials, who have been in a tense stand-off with the central government in Rome over the plans.

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