Activists wine and dine on principle alone

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The Independent Online

Italian anti-globalisation activists helped themselves to a gourmet meal, leaving nothing but a thank you note telling the restaurant owner he was the victim of "collateral damage" in their fight against war and poverty.

Italian anti-globalisation activists helped themselves to a gourmet meal, leaving nothing but a thank you note telling the restaurant owner he was the victim of "collateral damage" in their fight against war and poverty.

The activists struck as Italy's mainstream unions staged a nationwide strike against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's economic policies on Tuesday.

Pretending to be celebrating a baptism, about 40 people ate their way through food worth 2,000 euros (£1,400) finishing off with five bottles of Moet et Chandon champagne at Da Celeste, a family restaurant near Venice, the Ansa news agency said.

"Many have talked about the quality of your food, but we must tell you it passed all expectations," said the letter from the group.

The restaurant was chosen because it had hosted delegates at a Nato conference last month. "Consider this 'collateral damage', as [President George] Bush would say as children die in bombing raids," the letter said.

A thousand people from the group invaded a supermarket in Rome last month, taking goods without paying.

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