U.S. military blocked by protesting moms in Sicily

Activists concerned about MUOS satellite system

U.S. military blocked by protesting moms in Sicily

Gela, February 15 - Roughly 100 protesters in Sicily on Friday blocked vehicles for the second day in a row from entering the construction site of a contested US military satellite communications system. The vehicles were said to be carrying about 10 US soldiers arriving to change guard at the site located two kilometers outside the town of Niscemi, while the protesters were predominantly mothers from the area. In January the region of Sicily moved to suspend construction after activists blocked construction crews and later clashed with police near an American military base. The site is part of a global satellite defense network called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), which will aid US and NATO military operations as well as relief efforts. Opponents of the project say it will be an environmental and health nuisance and threatens world peace. On Thursday the US consulate in Naples issued a statement assuring inhabitants that "electromagnetic emissions are well below the legal limit, both for workers at the site and those who live nearby". Furthermore, it added, "there will be a series of post-installation tests to assess the potential effects on the surroundings". Other bases participating in MUOS are in Australia, Hawaii and Virginia.

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