Small boats take on big ships in Venice protest

September 26, 2016 10:16 AM EDT

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Protesters took to small boats in Venice on Sunday evening (September 25) to demonstrate against huge cruise ships being allowed to pass through the Italian city's canals.

Sounding horns and lighting colored flares, the protesters waved banners which read "No Big Ships", as a Thomson Celebration cruise ship sailed down the central Giudecca canal to the international cruise ship terminal.

Protests by Venice residents and environmentalists concerned about the damage caused by increasing cruise ship traffic to the fragile city, one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, have been on the rise in recent years.

But local authorities and cruise ship owners say the passage of these huge vessels provides the local area with thousands of jobs.

In 2013, legislation was brought in banning the largest ships of more than 96,000 tonnes from crossing the Giudecca canal. The number of smaller ships using the canal was limited to five a day.

However, that legislation was overturned at the end of 2015.

At over 33,000 tonnes, the Thomson Celebration cruise ship is one of the smaller liners to pass down the canal on a daily basis.

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