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Austrian activists block trans-Alpine roads

Austrian activists block trans-Alpine roads
VIENNA - Environmentalists protesting against increasing trans-Alpine traffic enforced an Austrian border blockade last week, halting vehicles along main routes between Germany and Italy.
Police said drivers in Austria and neighbouring countries had largely heeded advance warnings of the protests. \"People are detouring around, or else driving on another day,\" a spokesman for the roadside assistance group ARBOe told Reuters. The activists targeted five locations on the main motorway routes that connect Germany in the north with Italy in the south. The protesters support Austria\'s efforts to keep in place a cap on freight traffic going through environmentally sensitive areas, especially after EU enlargement increases trade with new member states along Austria\'s eastern border. The EU wants the quota system, which limits the number of return truck trips across the Alps via Austria to 1.61 million a year, to be gradually phased out after 2003. The protest, which the police have authorised, was due to block the A12 and A10 highways from 12:05 p.m. (1005 GMT) for up to 12 hours, said a spokesman for the organisers, Transitforum Austria Tirol. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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