Migrants evacuated after Italian assault

Immigrants are escorted on to buses by Italian police. (REUTERS)

Italian authorities sent in extra police and evacuated migrants from a southern Italian town after residents violently attacked African farm workers protesting against their conditions.

The clashes which began on Thursday left 67 people injured in the Calabrian town of Rosarno but calm was generally restored yesterday, with barricades erected by locals dismantled and shops open.

Police said the 18 injured included 31 foreigners, the latest of whom was fired at with a shotgun yesterday, 19 policemen and 17 locals.

Nine buses with police escorts evacuated 320 immigrants to a reception centre at Crotone, some 170kmfrom Rosarno, as locals applauded. Police said some 100 more had fled the town on their own and preparations were going ahead to move another 300 out to centres elsewhere.

Police Chief Antonio Managnelli announced on Friday the despatch of reinforcements – which press reports said would number more than 200 officers – to Rosarno. The violence broke out when hundreds of immigrants, most of them Africans employed illegally as farm labourers, demonstrated after some of them had been shot at with air rifles, Ansa said.

Demonstrators set fire to cars and smashed windscreens before police intervened, leading to a scuffle that left several of the demonstrators wounded, said Ansa.

The disturbances continued on Friday with about 2,000 immigrants holding a sit-in in the centre of Rosarno while Italian residents blocked roads and occupied the town hall.

In separate incidents on Friday, two immigrants were beaten and seriously wounded with iron bars One of the wounded was admitted to hospital for brain surgery.

Two other immigrants were hit in the legs with shotgun pellets and five more were deliberately run over by vehicles driven by locals, they said. They were lightly hurt.

 

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