The Italian city of Florence has been rocked by protests mounted by African immigrants. The unrest has been provoked by the shooting dead of a Senegalese street vendor.
Around 300 people, mainly of Senegalese origin, have staged a sit-in in the city’s center on Tuesday. The protesters called upon mayor Diego Nardella to come out to them, with the city official accepting the invitation.
However, Nardella’s presence at the sit-in was cut short by the aggressive behavior of some of the demonstrators, with the mayor departing the event after being pushed and jostled by some Senegalese men and far-right activists, ANSA reported.
“The history of Florence is the story of dialogue, the city understands the anger for the death of a man, but does not accept violence,” the mayor said, before retreating.
On Monday, dozens of angry migrants marched through the center of Florence, chanting “No more racism!” and overturning trash bins, scooters, bikes and flower boxes. The protests erupted after the news of the killing of Senegalese street vendor, Idy Dienec, by an Italian man earlier in the day.
According to the police, perpetrator Roberto Pirrone had fired six shots from a pistol at close range at his victim. Police said that the African man’s murder wasn’t racially motivated. Pirrone, who had a license to carry a weapon for sport, experienced money problems and planned to commit suicide, but then decided to shoot the first person he met in the street, they said.
Still, some of the protesters drew parallels between the shooting and the results of the Sunday’s parliamentary election in Italy, which saw anti-migrant Lega Nord becoming the second largest party in the country.
“The fact that the election went the way they did shows the kind of mood the country is in. Italy has become a country where blacks are shot on the street,” Pape Diaw, a Senegalese community representative, told Reuters.
In February, a neo-Nazi sympathizer opened fire on an African in the city of Macerata in central Italy and injured six people before being apprehended. Back in 2011, another Italian man with far-right links shot dead two Senegalese traders in Florence.
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