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Protestors mark Mont Blanc fire deaths

CHAMONIX, France, March 24 (AFP) – Demonstrators planted 39 crosses near the entrance to the Mont Blanc tunnel linking France and Italy on Wednesday in a protest marking the fifth anniversary of the deadly fire in the tunnel.

The crosses corresponded to the number of people killed March 24, 1999 when a blaze which broke out on a truck part-way through the tunnel quickly turned into an inferno engulfing other vehicles.

Wednesday’s unauthorised demonstration was designed to protest the passage of trucks in the region.

Several of the participants remained near the crosses to stop them being removed and to wait for a larger demonstration to take place later in the day.

The 1999 fire led to authorities entirely renovating the 11.6-kilometres (seven-mile) tunnel and adding numerous safety features. The link – an important border throughpoint – was reopened to traffic in 2002.


                                                              Subject: France news