Workers at closed Alcoa smelter protest UPI 11/13/2012 10:33:39 PM PORTOSCUSO, Italy, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Alcoa employees protesting the closing of an aluminum smelter on the Italian island of Sardinia threw firecrackers Tuesday and battled police officers. The battle at the now-closed Great Serbariu Mine occurred as government officials were preparing to meet to sign an economic development agreement for the Sulcis region in southwestern Sardinia, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The area has the highest unemployment among young people in Italy. The U.S. aluminum giant shut down its smelter in Portovesme Nov. 1. The company has said all employees will remain on the payroll through the end of December.