ROME - While Prime Minister Enrico Letta meets with French President François Hollande for a summit at Villa Madama, police have blockaded several roads in Rome as a group of protesters has taken to the streets.
The two officials are meeting to discuss their bilateral relations, and among the topics planned to be discussed is the controversial high-speed (TAV) railway.
On Wednesday afternoon, several hundred demonstrators gathered in the city to protest the TAV railway and the housing crisis. The demonstrators have occupied the Campo de' Fiori, just metres away from the French Embassy at Palazzo Farnese. Police have responded by blockading streets and have also placed the French Embassy under heavy security, with police shielding it from public access.
The protest has been primarily non-violent, however a small number of No Tav protesters had detached from the group and attempted to break into the Democratic Party headquarters but was dispersed quickly by police in via Sant'Andrea delle Frate.
Many shops, bars, and restaurants in the central district have closed amid the protests.