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Italians Protest Expansion of U.S. Base

A protester plays trumpet during a demonstration against the planned expansion of the U.S military base near the Dal Molin airport in Vicenza, Feb. 17 2007.

Protesters converged on the small northern Italian city of Vicenza on Saturday to speak out against the planned expansion of a U.S. military base there.

Italian government officials had warned of the risk of violence, but the demonstration was peaceful and without incident. Banners with angry slogans were directed as much against the Italian government as against American foreign policy.

Italy's fragile coalition government has approved of the Pentagon's request to double the size of the base, but the issue is caught up in the war in Iraq and Italy's role in NATO's presence in Afghanistan.

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