Italians and Africans Clash in Race Riots Possibly Sparked by Mafia

In the small working-class town of  Rosarno last Thursday night, a race riot broke out between Italians and Africans over what the Africans are calling a racially charged fight.  The New York Times reported that it isn’t certain who started the conflict, but the result was two days of rioting, burned cars, smashed store windows, local residents hit with rocks and fights with police.  Over 50 immigrants and police officers suffered non-threatening wounds with 10 immigrants and locals being arrested.  Those immigrants arrested were went to lock-up in other places in southern Italy on Saturday.

The relationship between the Africans in this town and the Italians is similar to the relationship of African Americans to whites in the U.S. South pre-civil rights movement.  The immigrants are under paid and they pick fruit and do other jobs that according to NY Times, the Italians feel are “beneath them.”  Flavio Di Giacomo, the spokesman for the International Organization for Migration in Italy noted that the state of affairs has been like a pressure cooker waiting to blow.  The people are tired of being unappreciated and under compensated.  Di Giacomo was quoted saying that the workers have been living in a “semi-slavery.”  He also added,  “It’s shameful that this is happening in the heart of Italy.”

It’s not clear why the Mafia is being blamed in the incident other than they are quite strong in Italy and that the blood lines run deep, so much so that the police are unable to cultivate any informants.  But, the Africans are not connected, so they present a threat.  The Africans are their living in squalor, making much lower wages than they should be paid…what do they have to lose?

Read more here on their race relations, but remember …don’t throw stones..

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