A massive brawl involving US troops on a night out in Italy has ended with 12 servicemen arrested, several people injured and a nightclub seeking €150,000 (£118,000, $170,000) in damages local media reported. Up to 40 people were said to have taken part in the fight near the northern city of Vicenza that saw American soldiers stationed at a local base opposed to a group of clubbers of African origins.
Management of the Liv Club in Bassano del Grappa said a quarrel erupted at the premises early on 8 May for reasons still unclear. At around 3.30am a soldier was stabbed in the back inside the club by a man reportedly from Ghana, Liv's co-owner Samuele Bucciol told a local paper.
Colleagues of the injured serviceman subsequently launched a manhunt for the assailant through the dance-floor and a scuffle soon erupted with other Ghanaians. Security managed to expel those involved but the fight however continued, with some of the warring parties reportedly armed with knives and broken bottles.
Police from several nearby towns had to be summoned as backup to quell the fight. Eight people were later taken to hospital, including some suffering from stab wounds. Photos from the scene showed large bloodstains covering a wall outside the club.
Twelve soldiers were arrested and are facing charges of aggravated brawl. They have been remanded to house arrests at the Caserma Ederle and are due to appear before a judge on 12 May. Club owners confirmed they were seeking €150,000 in damages as the premises was vandalised.
"They smashed sound equipment and sofas, smeared the club with blood, kicked parked cars and even an ambulance. Many people, perhaps out of fear, left without paying," they told Il Giornale di Vicenza. Around 3,000 American soldiers are garrisoned in Ederle and another Italian military base in the area named Dal Molin.
The local community has often voiced discomfort at the soldiers' presence as American troopers have been involved in a series of incidents in recent years, including brawls, muggings and sexual assaults.
UPDATE (11 May):
A spokesman for the US Army Garrison (USAG) Italy said they were aware of the incident and "working fully and closely" with Italy's Carabinieri police.
"If it is determined that a Paratrooper acted inappropriately we will work with the local authorities and Carabinieri in accordance with our own regulations depending on the official findings," said Major Juan Martinez. "The safety and security of our community is important to us and we will
continue to ensure we are a respectable guest to our host nation of Italy."