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Protests across Italy as G-8 summit starts

Dozens of activists from 18 countries occupied four oal-fired power plants across Italy Wednesday, climbing smokestacks to hang banners calling on the Group of Eight summit to take the lead in fighting climate change, Greenpeace said.

Italian energy giant Enel, which owns three of the plants, said production had not been disrupted. Employees at two of the plants staged counter-demonstrations and the union for Italy's energy workers condemned the protest.

Pic: L'Aquila

In Rome, activists from charity group Oxfam International put on masks of world leaders and dressed up as chefs, stirring a mock Earth in a pot representing the planet's rising temperature.

On the historic Spanish Steps, where environmentalists stripped half-naked and unfurled a banner calling on leaders to "Keep climate cool." Two women, a French and an American, as well as a Greek man were briefly detained by police.

The stunts came a day after anti-globalization groups in the capital blocked roads, rail tracks, and clashed with police in violent protests against the G-8. Nearly 40 Italian and foreign activists were detained.

Also Wednesday, the ANSA news agency reported that police had taken in four Dutch citizens who were traveling to the summit area with helmets, gas masks and sticks in their car.

Several demonstrations have been scheduled in Rome and L'Aquila, the quake-shattered central Italian town that is hosting the three-day summit that opened Wednesday. Critics of the G-8 have also vowed to stage surprise protests across the country.

In one such protest, a group of L'Aquila residents climbed a hill in front of the police school that is serving as the summit venue and set up giant plastic letters reading "Yes we camp!" ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival.

The play on words on Obama's "Yes we can" campaign slogan sought to remind leaders of the thousands of earthquake survivors living in makeshift tent camps since the devastating April 6 temblor, organizers said.

The Italian government chose L'Aquila as host to highlight the population's plight, but some locals fear the decision is diverting time and resources from the rebuilding of their shattered homes.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/07/08/protests-across-italy-g8-summit-starts.html