Italy: Back from the Brink

As a chill breeze drove dark clouds overhead, some 500 striking Sicilian farm laborers worked at strengthening a rock barrier blocking Route 115, leading north from Avola along the coast to Syracuse. Up rumbled a nine-truck police convoy, and 90 cops descended. Deliberately, officers donned their tricolor sashes (required as a preliminary to making arrests) and their men doffed berets for steel helmets. The strikers, taking these preparations as a provocation, began pelting the police with stones; the cops, deploying into a nearby field, replied with tear gas. In the ensuing melee,...