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protest

Protesters in Italy brought disruption to major ring roads and motorways

  PICTURE: Stefano Grasso  

Protests over finances cause travel mayhem

ALL major ring roads and motorways in Italy were blocked by protestors on horseback on Monday as the backlash against the financial plight of the racing industry intensified.

Bales of hay and straw were also used to cause significant delays to traffic in all directions around major cities - 15km queues were recorded on the Grande Raccordo Anulare in Rome on Monday morning.

The demonstrations are to raise awareness of racing's financial plight to politicians and the public. Last Friday, no racing took place as thousands of industry professionals marched on Piazza Septembre in Rome, while over the weekend there was a blockade to the entrance of Stadio San Paolo, home of Napoli FC, and a demonstration before the match at San Siro, where AC Milan were in action.

Italian racing being in turmoil is nothing new - there was no racing in Italy throughout January last year until its resumption in mid-February as the industry reacted to a 40 per cent cut in prize-money and attempted to seek solutions through government.

This year national associations representing breeders, owners, trainers and racecourses, as well as many other organisations and individuals who make their living from racing, are taking part in protests and calling for the money promised to the sport in 2012.

Meetings are ongoing between government representatives and the racing industry, but a mix of protests and talks is likely to continue, with little progress expected before the general election, which takes place on February 24-25.

 
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