Niscemi, May 8 - More violent protests erupted Wednesday at the site of a new United States satellite communications base under construction in Sicily. About 50 members of the local committee opposed to the site clashed with police, leaving three officers bruised. Protesters tried to prevent a routine shift change of guards at the construction site. Construction of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) site by the US military has stirred controversy in Sicily. A hearing date has been set for Friday in the dispute over permits for the site, after the regional government withdrew its authorization for construction of the controversial site. While opponents say MUOS will threaten world peace, the environment, and the health of locals, Italy's defence ministry defended the system as "essential for NATO operations in the Mediterranean and therefore, for national security".