10 Jan 2010

Italians cheer as police move African immigrants out after clashes with locals

Local people clapped and cheered yesterday as hundreds of Africans were moved by police out of a small town in Calabria following clashes in which immigrant farmworkers were shot at, severely beaten and run over.


More than 300 immigrants were loaded on to buses in the riot-torn town of Rosarno, destined for immigrant holding centres. Meanwhile, an immigrant was shot from a moving car with a pellet rifle, bringing to five the number who have been shot.

The first shooting, last Thursday, provoked a violent protest march by Africans through Rosarno, which left 66 injured. A second immigrant was beaten with metal bars yesterday despite a heavy police presence in and around Rosarno.

"There is a very serious security problem here and many immigrants working on local farms are scared and just want to get out, even though many have not been paid," said Laura Boldrini, a UN official, after touring some of the disused factories in which immigrants sleep after returning from poorly paid shifts in nearby fields.

The Observer