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Venice

Venetians held a fresh round of protests late last week, in a bid to reinstate the ban on big ships from entering the Venice lagoon.

Protests follow the recent arrest of Venice’s mayor Giorgio Orsoni and 34 officials and contractors on suspicion of skimming tens of millions of euros from the Moses flood barrier project, which is designed to save the city from rising waters.

The ‘cruise ship removal plan’ was approved by the Italian government in November last year after congestion in the lagoon resulted in a number of deaths.

The plan was designed to reduce water traffic by reducing the number of vessels weighing more than 40,000 tonnes from sailing in the lagoon, and restricting vessels weighing over 96,000 tonnes from crossing the Giudecca canal.

After several postponements, the ban was eventually suspended in March this year after a judge ruled that there wasn’t sufficient preliminary research that identifies risks connected to transits of ships weighing over 40,000 tons.

However, locals aren’t taking no for an answer.

Protestors late last week held up the departure of cruise ships by blocking the terminals for passenger departures for hours.

This was relatively tame compared to last year’s rally, which stopped the passing of cruise ships for an entire day by using small boats to block their exit and entrance.

Protestor, Thomas Cacciari told the Venice Times that it was the right time to protest, particularly after the Moses scandal.

“We wanted to renew the demonstration against the large ships with greater power today especially after what happened in our town in the past few days,” he said.