Protesters stand in front of a grove of olive trees dating back centuries in the village of Melendugno, southern Italy March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

BARI/MILAN Italian police broke up a protest by environmentalists trying to prevent the removal of a grove of olive trees dating back centuries standing in the way of a $40 billion pipeline to bring Asian gas to Europe.
The trees, including some more than 100 years old, are in the path of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the final stage of the so-called southern gas corridor designed to reduce the European Union’s dependence on Russian energy.
On Monday, a top Italian court gave the go-ahead to start work on TAP, rejecting appeals by local authorities in the southern Puglia region who wanted to move the landfall.
On Tuesday, protesters laid down outside the work site to block the arrival of trucks and tractors, police officials said, and in the afternoon police dispersed about 50 people, including the mayors of some of the towns in the area.
Police also broke up a cordon of about 300 …