Burned-out police vehicles, damaged cars and other debris today (Tuesday) marked the scene of a violent clash between police and striking agricultural workers in which two men died.
Burned-out police vehicles, damaged cars and other debris today (Tuesday) marked the scene of a violent clash between police and striking agricultural workers in which two men died. The pitched battle took place yesterday (Monday) at a road block set up by farm workers on one of the main roads between the provinces of Syracuse and Catania.
Two farm workers died in the battle at the road block set up by the strikers to support their claims for higher pay.
Abort 600 workers were building a wall across the road when a convoy of lorries with steel-helmeted police arrived. The police responded to a hail of stones and boulders with tear gas.
Police sources said many policemen tried to escape the stones and the gas which the wind blew back in their faces by running into nearby fields. They found they were surrounded by workers and in panic -- and without orders -- fired their guns.
The demonstrators finally dispersed and the police retreated, leaving two of their vehicles in flames -- overturned and set alight by the demonstrators.
South-east Sicily was almost paralysed by strikes today as angry workers protested against the deaths of two farm labourers.
Trades unions have called a general strike throughout the island in protest against the killings and hundreds of telegrams of sympathy and support flooded into union headquarters.
Two other farm workers were still in a critical condition with bullet wounds today. Eight farm workers and 50 policemen were seriously hurt in the clashes.