Militants occupy Corsica parliament
( AP ) - Militant nationalists occupied the local parliament building Saturday while police outside dispersed demonstrators with tear gas in the capital of this French Mediterranean island.
A fire erupted on the building's fifth floor, where the offices of Assembly President Camille de Rocca Serra are located. The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear, and the full extent of the damage was not known.
Nationalists occupied the building earlier Saturday after several hundred people demonstrated in the streets to protest what they claimed was growing repression on the island.
They also were protesting the life sentence imposed last week on Yvan Colonna, a Corsican nationalist, for the 1998 murder of Claude Erignac, the state's highest representative.
Militant Corsican nationalists have long sought increased autonomy for the rugged island, using a bombing campaign to send their message to Paris. Targets are most often symbols of the state such as tax offices or police posts. But the bombs are usually timed not to kill.