ROME — Environmentalists filled forests with the noise of horns, whistles, drums and tambourines on Sunday in an effort to frighten away wildlife and disrupt the opening of Italy's hunting season.
About 5,000 banner-waving activists from the World Wildlife Fund and the environmentalist Greens party spread out across 116 hunting grounds nationwide at dawn, shattering the quiet with trumpets, bullhorns, accordions, guitars, pots, radios and other noisemakers.
"We're giving the animals a chance to escape and the hunters a pretext to think about hunting in a new way," said Staffan de Mistura, director general of the Italian chapter of the wildlife organization. "We want to transform the day into a celebration instead of the beginning of a new massacre."
He said that 100 million animals are killed each year by Italy's 1.5 million licensed hunters.
In Lido di Roma outside the capital, one hunter, identified as Aldo Balsamo, was arrested for allegedly firing about 40 shots in the direction of protesters, police said. No one was hit.