Italian Prime Minister attempts to block anti-nuclear referendum
May 16, 2011
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On May 9th Greenpeace activists unfurled a large banner from Mussolini's balcony on Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The banner includes a caricature of Berlusconi saying "Italians, I decide your future" and a call for Italians to vote on the Nuclear Referndum.Michael Leonardi, an ally of Beyond Nuclear in environmental coalition efforts to block the 20 year license extension at Davis-Besse atomic reactor in Ohio (see the Counterpunch article from last month), has reported at Counterpunch that Italian PM Berlusconi is attempting to postpone a national referendum set for June 12th and 13th that would end his proposed nuclear relapse in Italy. The anti-nuclear referendum drive required the gathering of 500,000 petition signatures. Berlusconi privately owns and/or controls much of the media in Italy, and has effectively censored any efforts by the anti-nuclear movement to spread the word about the referendum. Michael Leonardi reports about a moment of deep cynicism, when Berlusconi and French President Nicholas Sarkozy stood together in Rome to promote building new French reactors in Italy on Chernobyl's 25th anniversary on April 26th. Berlusconi said to the assembled press that the Italian voters had been scared by Fukushima, just as they had been by "leftists and ecologists" after Chernobyl, so a year-long calm down period before the referendum should take place. Leonardi quoted Angelo Bonelli, President of the Italian Green Party, as saying: "The referendums will be voted on anyway, despite the fact that the thieves of democracy have returned to action. The attempts of the government to steal the democratic rights of the Italian people to vote against nuclear energy and the privatization of water will not succeed."

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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