25 May 2008

Mob of Nazi youths goes on immigrant rampage in 'tolerant' Rome

Balaclava-clad gangs, some wearing bandanas emblazoned with swastikas, smashed shop windows with iron bars and baseball bats and beat up shopkeepers in a hitherto bohemian neighbourhood of Rome.

Members of the gangs shouted “Get out, bastard foreigners” as they attacked Bengali shopkeepers in the explosion of xenophobic violence.

Neo-Nazi's salutingGianni Alemanno, the capital's new right-wing mayor, condemned the attacks, which took place in the eastern suburb of Pigneto, an area with a reputation for tolerance, on Saturday night. Local residents also condemned the violence, saying that it must have been perpetrated by outsiders. One shopkeeper, however, said he had recognised one of the youths, who earlier had accused him of harbouring a fellow Asian who had allegedly stolen a purse.

Opponents blamed the new centre-right Government for allowing what they described as a climate of xenophobia to flourish across the country.

The new Government of Silvio Berlusconi last week announced a crackdown on illegal immigration and street crime at a Cabinet meeting held in Naples. Roberto Maroni, the Interior Minister, who is deputy leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, said that the Government was responding to the concern of Italians concerns over immigration and personal security.

Times Online