Holding peace flags and chanting "stop the war," nearly 200 people gathered Monday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Rome to protest the reported use by American troops of white phosphorous in Iraq.
Italy's state-run RAI24 all-news television aired a documentary last week alleging the United States used white phosphorous shells "in a massive and indiscriminate way" against civilians during the November 2004 offensive in Fallujah.
The United States has said it used phosphorous shells "very sparingly" in Fallujah to illuminate the night sky. It says such shells used that way are legal.
The protest was organized by the communist daily Liberazione. The newspaper also planned a similar protest outside U.S. Consulate in Milan on Tuesday, the AP reports.
The documentary showed photos of what it said were Iraqis burned by white phosphorous, and quoted former U.S. Marines as saying the shells were used. The U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a statement criticizing the documentary, saying any suggestion that U.S. forces used white phosphorous or any chemical weapons against human targets was "simply wrong." A.M.