‘Soldiers go home’ – Italians protest American base on US Election Day

© Olol Jackson
Protesters against a US military base in Italy used firecrackers, with police responding with tear gas. Demonstrators rallied on the day of the US presidential election saying no matter who wins, American soldiers should “go home.”

Up to 200 people gathered in the Italian town of Vicenza on Tuesday calling on Washington to “free” their soil from the US military presence. Vicenza, located in north-eastern Italy, is home to the US “Dal Molin” Army base.

Some demonstrators carried banners saying 'Clinton or Trump? Soldiers go home!’ as the rally was staged on the day of the US election with the winner then not known.

“For us, Clinton or Trump makes no difference: our objective is to free our territory and all territories from military presence,” Olol Jackson, spokesperson for the 'Presidio No Dal Molin' organization protest group, as quoted by Ruptly news agency.

“We thought this was the best moment to make the next US president understand that we are against military bases and that it’s time for them to go back home,” Jackson added.

Some of the demonstrators attached posters saying ‘Soldiers go home’ to the walls of the military facility. As the rally progressed, however, around 50 people  themselves from the main group and started throwing firecrackers onto the base. 

Police used tear gas in return to disperse the crowds, but  to Vicenza Today, no one was injured in the standoff. 

Italy has one of the highest numbers of US foreign bases in the world, and is the second-largest state in Europe after Germany which hosts an American military presence.

In August, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni announced his country would also “consider” any request by Washington to use the Italian Sigonela airbase for air strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets in Libya.