Venice (AFP) - Several hundred protesters demanding the authorities ban huge cruise ships they say threaten one of the world's most historic cities targeted the Venice film festival Saturday to make their point.
Between 300 and 400 protestors gathered in front of the main marquee where the glittering closing ceremonies of the film festival will be held later in the day.
They carried banners denouncing the impact the massive ships are having on Venice and its environment as well as the threat of global climate change.
In particular, they say the boats sailing through the lagoon are eroding the very foundations of the city.
"The 'Venice Climate Camp' has sounded the alarm. The message is clear, the earth is burning. The time has come to mobilise, to take serious measures, to ensure social and climate justice," the organisers said on their website.
"So, let us make Venice a symbol of the struggle against climate change, let us use the film festival as a sounding board."
The festival attracts global attention, especially so with the award of the prizes watched over by stars, celebrities and hundreds of journalists.
Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world but the sight of giant cruise ships so close to its invaluable historic inheritance has sparked uproar.