Clashes erupt in Rome during French president's visit as Italy, France OK high-speed train

ROME – Italians opposed to the construction of a high-speed train between the Italian city of Turin and the French city of Lyon have clashed with police in Rome during a visit by French President Francois Hollande.

Hollande was nowhere near the site when a small number of protesters battled with riot police Wednesday as they tried to reach the French Embassy. He was meeting instead with Premier Enrico Letta at a government villa on the other side of town, where the two confirmed the high-speed train project was going ahead as planned.

The train line has provoked years of protest by residents of northern Italy, who say the construction of tunnels through the mountainous region poses environmental hazards.