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Opstand migranten Zuid-Italië

In Rosarno in het uiterste zuiden van Italië zijn Afrikaanse migranten in opstand gekomen nadat ze beschoten werden. Sinds donderdagavond is het zeer onrustig in Rosarno. Toen werden  Afrikaanse migranten die op weg naar huis waren na in de sinaasappelplantages gewerkt te hebben, vanuit een langsrijdende auto beschoten, vermoedelijk met een luchtdrukgeweer. Twee mensen raakten gewond.

8 min leestijd

De migranten reageerden op de beschieting door massaal het stadje in te trekken, waarbij ze met de politie botsten, auto’s in brand staken en winkels plunderden. Zo’n 2000 van hen demonstreerden voor het gemeentehuis om te protesteren tegen de racistische behandeling die ze ondergaan. Ze droegen leuzen mee als “wij zijn geen dieren” en “jullie zijn racisten”. Kruispunten op toegangswegen naar een grote gekraakte fabriekshal waar velen van hen onderdak hebben worden met bemande barricades afgeschermd.


Na de eerste demonstratie waren er verschillende confrontaties tussen de migranten, politie en lokale bevolking, waarbij (volgens de onbekende bron hieronder) 34 gewonden vielen en 7 mensen gearresteerd werden.

Volgens verschillende media heeft de lokale maffia (‘ndrangheta) met de beschieting te maken die de boel deed ontploffen. De migranten-arbeiders verdienen gemiddeld 25 euro per dag, waarvan ze weer 5 euro ‘beschermingsgeld’ af moeten dragen. De beschieting zou uitgevoerd zijn om ze te dwingen hun ‘belasting’ te betalen.

Eerder raakte ook al iemand gewond toen een schutter de fabriekshal binnentrad waar mensen op kartonnen dozen lagen te slapen en hen beschoot.

Een deel van de bevolking kiest de kant van de migranten. Vertegenwoordigers van de lokale katholieke kerk hebben verklaard dat gezien de omstandigheden waaronder ze moeten leven en de manier waarop ze behandeld worden, het logisch is dat ze nu in opstand zijn gekomen.

Interessant is ook dat de anti-maffia-activist en schrijver (Gomorra) Roberto Saviani stelt dat de gebeurtenis belangrijk is in de strijd tegen de alomtegenwoordige macht van de maffia. De Afrikanen zijn volgens hem de enigen die zich te weer durven te stellen tegen de maffia. Eerder in september gebeurde precies hetzelfde nadat de camorra-maffia in Castelvolturno bij Napels zes jinge Afrikaanse mannen had doodgeschoten:  “In the six preceding months, the camorra killed a shocking number of innocent Italians. On May 16, 2008, Domenico Noviello, who ten years ago had reported extortion, was killed right after losing his police protection. But nothing, no protest at all. No Italians took to the streets. The few who were outraged….felt ever more alone and powerless.But their aloneness was finally broken on the morning of the 19th [of September 2008] when hundreds and hundreds of African men and women occupied the streets and screamed their indignation in the face of Italians.” Saviano notes that there was vandalism during the protests, but “the extraordinary thing is that the day after, the Africans took it upon themselves to repair the damages.” “Their objective was to attract attention and say, ‘Don’t try it ever again.’” (link)

Ondertussen zijn er ook alweer nieuwe beschietingen geweest en gewonden gevallen. Maffia heeft twee mensen in de benen geschoten en er is ook sprake van aanvallen met ijzeren staven. Volgens verschillende berichten zou een van de gewonde Afrikanen in kritieke toestand in het ziekenhuis liggen.(Italiaanse pers, foto’s hier)

De landelijke regerende politici, zoals de extreemrechtse minister van Binnenlandse Zaken Maroni (Lega Nord) putten zich zoals gebruikelijk uit in het leggen van de schuld bij de migranten (en migratie in het algemeen).

Hieronder een Engelstalig bericht van indymedia-Duitsland waarvan titel en herkomst onduidlijk is, daaronder nog enkele links naar verslagen van reguliere Duitse media, waaronder een filmpje van Spiegel-TV.


Two Africans were shot and injured tonight as racial unrest continued to grip the southern Italian town of Rosarno after a night of rioting and an earlier shooting in which two other immigrants were wounded.
Two Africans were shot and injured tonight as racial unrest continued to grip the southern Italian town of Rosarno after a night of rioting and an earlier shooting in which two other immigrants were wounded.

On a main road, close to a disused building in which hundreds of itinerant farm workers live in conditions of squalor, about 100 local people armed with iron bars and wooden staves were manning an illegal roadblock.

The latest shooting took place at the same location as the earlier attack – an unoccupied factory on the outskirts of the town that also serves as sleeping quarters for African workers. As in the previous attack, a drive-by shooting, the victims were hit and injured with pellets from an air rifle or pistol.

Following the first incident, more than 100 immigrants rampaged through the town last night, smashing car windows with steels bars, setting rubbish bins on fire, forcing local residents out of their cars and setting the cars alight, and clashing with police in riot gear.

Some 2,000 immigrants demonstrated in front of the town hall today to protest against what they said was racist treatment by locals. Some shouted “We are not animals” and carried signs reading “Italians here are racist”.

As the demonstrators marched through Rosarno to the town hall, a resident fired shots into the air from his balcony, allegedly to protect his wife and child, who he said had had stones thrown at them by protesters.

By nightfall, after further demonstrations by immigrants and locals, seven people had been arrested and 34 injured.

Several clashes were reported between locals and immigrant farm workers, most of whom come from sub-Saharan Africa or the Maghreb. Furious over the violence and damage, groups of locals occupied the town hall and blocked a main road.

Silvio Berlusconi’s interior minister, Roberto Maroni, provoked controversy by appearing to blame earlier governments for the outburst of violence. He said: “For all these years, clandestine immigration has been tolerated, which feeds crime.”

But others pointed a finger at the farm workers’ conditions. Father Carmelo Ascone, the parish priest of Rosarno, said they reminded him of the circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. “These people live in inhuman and desperate conditions,” he said.

Several thousand immigrants live in and around Rosarno while helping with the harvest of oranges and clementines.

Looming behind the disturbances was Calabria’s mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta. A town of 14,000 inhabitants, Rosarno is a stronghold of the organisation, which Italian police and prosecutors say has overtaken Sicily’s Cosa Nostra to become the country’s most potent crime syndicate. In December 2008, the town council was dissolved on orders from the head of state because it was infiltrated by mobsters and their known associates. Rosarno is currently administered by a prefect appointed by the central government.

The prefect, Domenico Bagnato, said today: “The situation is serious and onerous. I have spoken to the immigrants and I have told them that we shall do everything possible to protect them. But I have also made it clear that they ought not to confuse an attack by individuals with the attitude of the entire town.”

Just over a year ago, at the time of the last citrus harvest, an unknown gunman walked into a factory where several hundred farm workers were sleeping and shot two of them. One, a 21-year-old from the Ivory Coast, was seriously injured.

The latest riot began as a protest against the insecure conditions in which the immigrants find themselves. But a former town councillor, Domenico Ventre, said: “The immigrants in Rosarno are helped and assisted. Their reaction to the isolated incident on Thursday was disproportionate. We cannot allow them to devastate our town, spreading fear among the inhabitants.”

In their report of arrests, the Carabinieri said that one man had been held for trying to run over a farm worker with an earth mover. Another had allegedly attempted to run down an immigrant with his car.

A smaller riot by immigrants broke out near Naples in September 2008 after a multiple killing that was linked to organised crime.

According to the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, immigrants now account for 7.2% of the resident population in Italy — one percentage point more than the EU average. Caritas put the number of legal immigrants at 4.5 million and said the number of illegal immigrants had fallen sharply, to 422,000.

Berlusconi’s government has taken a hard line against illegal immigration and made an agreement with Libya to prevent boatloads of immigrants landing on its southern shores from Africa. The boats are now routinely intercepted in international waters and returned to Libya.

Grapes of wrath
Desperation of itinerant workers

The disturbances in Calabria have brought home the fact that the wretched migrants who arrive from Africa off Italy’s coastline do not disappear once they are taken ashore. Thousands end up in a transient workforce of crop-pickers that finds work in the south.

Some of the Africans who rebelled after the shooting in Rosarno will have been helping with the wine harvest in Sicily in the early autumn or picking olives in Puglia in the late autumn. Some will be intending to drift up to Campania, around Naples, next spring.

On the Gioia Tauro plain which encompasses Rosarno, they are collected each morning by overseers and driven into citrus groves for work that can last from dawn to dusk.

“They earn €25 a day”, said Father Ennio Stamile of the Roman Catholic charity Caritas. “They have to send money to their countries to maintain their families and also live here. Not much is left for them. The economic crisis has exacerbated their situation.”

“On the plain, there are about 2,000 African immigrants who sleep the night crowded together in a former paper mill and another large building, said Monsignor Pino de Masi, the vicar-general of the Oppido-Palmi diocese. “If anyone from central government were to see the conditions in which they live, without sanitation, electricity, water or heating, they would not be surprised by what has happened.”

Duits stuk uit Oostenrijkse Presse

Filmpje Spiegel tv:
Rapport MSF over arbeidsomstandigheden (pdf)

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