Hundreds of demonstrators protesting against plans to fence off Italian-Austrian border crossing at Brenner clash with Italian police. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NATURAL (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Clashes broke out on Saturday (May 7) between Italian police and demonstrators protesting plans to restrict access through the Alpine Brenner Pass at the Italian-Austrian border to control the movement of migrants. Some 400-500 demonstrators had gathered at the Brenner railway station on Saturday afternoon for a planned protest march to the border. They carried a large banner with the words "destroy the borders" written in Italian and English and chanted slogans. Several of the protesters could be seen wearing helmets and covering their heads and faces with scarves, hoods and hats. The clashes broke out in front of the station right at the start of the demonstration march and spilled onto the tracks. The police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and to get the demonstrators to move away from the station. Smoke covered the tracks and platforms as officers in riot gear advanced through the station and the demonstrators fled to a nearby highway. According to local media reports a police officer was injured during the clashes and dozens of demonstrators were arrested by the police. Austria has said it plans to erect a fence at the Brenner crossing it shares with Italy to "channel" people. Part of Europe's borderless Schengen zone, Brenner is one of the routes that migrants use as they head towards wealthy northern Europe. Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera reported earlier this week that the protest had been organized by an anarchist group from Trentino, northern Italy, and was expected to attract demonstrators from abroad. Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in Rome last month that as many as a million migrants were poised to cross the Mediterranean from Libya this year. Italy says the figure is much lower, though calm summer seas may well bring a surge. Italy and Germany are utterly opposed to Austria's plan to build a fence at its border with Italy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Thursday after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.