Several hundred Italian police and carabinieri held an early morning raid on demonstrators against a project for a new high-speed railway line from Turin to Lyon in France.

Demonstrators were taken away from their Venaus campsite in police vehicles, and bulldozers flattened tents and a campsite kitchen. Several people were injured, although no-one seriously; the first count was 20 demonstrators and 12 police taken to hospitals in the area.

At dawn the police in Turin reported that they had regained control of the land in Venaus, but the demonstrators managed to bring in sympathisers who quickly set up road and railway blocks bringing transport to a standstill.

The protestors claim that the new railway line, which will take 15 years to complete, will endanger the environment and ruin the beautiful mountainous area between Turin and the French border.

The line will include two tunnels, one 12 km long in Italy and the second 52 km long between Italy and France.

Venaus is between Susa and the Italian-French border and close to the area where the Winter Olympics will be held in February 2006.