Bomb Injures Senior Police Officer In Italy Rail Protest

ROME (Reuters) - A senior Italian police officer was injured in 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 evening 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.

The latest in a long run of clashes follows months of confrontations which have raised concern about a rise in violent demonstrations during the economic crisis.

The head of the center-left Democratic Party, Pierluigi Bersani, condemned the violence and expressed solidarity with Petronzi.

"In a democracy, dissent is legitimate but the form of violence being used by some members of the No Tav movement are unacceptable," Bersani said in a statement.

Villagers in Val di Susa, supported by a coalition of outside activists, have held repeated demonstrations against the 15 billion euro ($18 billion) project, agreed between Italy and France in 2001.

The government says the rail link, which will almost halve the time of a journey between Paris and Milan to four hours, is vital to strengthen transport links between northern Italy and the rest of the continent.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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Description : The head of a police special operations unit in Turin, Giuseppe Petronzi, was hurt by an improvised explosive device during the confrontation on Saturday evening 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.
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