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Austerity cut: Italian miner slits wrist on TV to protest coal mine shutdown (GRAPHIC VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Published time: August 30, 2012 09:55
Edited time: September 03, 2012 12:40

Sardinian miners block the entrance of Carbosulcis mine during a protest in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)

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A Sardinian miner has slashed his wrist in a live TV address, in protest against the closing of a local facility. Some 100 workers barricaded themselves in front of the mine, which is packed with almost 700 kilograms of explosives.

­The incident took place during a press conference held underground.

"If someone here has decided to the kill miners' families, ladies and gentlemen, we'll cut ourselves, we'll cut ourselves," 49-year-old Stefano Meletti said as he slashed his wrist in front of reporters.

"We cannot take it anymore. We cannot! We cannot! It’s what we have to do," Reuters quoted him as saying.

The workers have staged a sit-in 400 meters underground since barricading themselves in the mine on Sunday night. The mine contains an estimated 700 kilograms of explosives, and the miners have vowed not to leave until the government promises to assist them.

The miners are protesting a shortage of funding for the coal industry, which has left them unemployed. They are calling for Italian energy corporation Enel to halt the shutdown of the last coal mine in the country.

The workers are pressing the government to combine a mining and a carbon-capture project to save their jobs, but authorities have already denied their pleas, claiming the project would cost some 250 million euros a year.

"That's almost 200,000 euros per miner. It's an unsustainable cost," government Undersecretary of Economic Development Claudio De Vincenti told La Republica.

Sardinia has been Italy’s main mining region for decades, but the deep recession gripping the country has devastated the industry – the unemployment rate in the region is 16 percent.

Italian leaders are set to meet later this week to discuss the Sardinia’s economic plight.

A Sardinian miner stands during a protest by miners blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
A Sardinian miner stands during a protest by miners blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
Sardinian miners take a lift from underground during a protest blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
Sardinian miners take a lift from underground during a protest blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
A Sardinian miner is pictured during a protest by miners blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
A Sardinian miner is pictured during a protest by miners blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
The boots of Sardinian miners are pictured during a protest blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)
The boots of Sardinian miners are pictured during a protest blocking the entrance of Carbosulcis mine in Carbonia, west of Cagliari, August 29, 2012 (Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi)

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