Race riots erupt in Calabria

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of migrant workers, most of them Africans, went on a rampage in a southern Italian town in a second day of rioting, with authorities reporting at least 37 injured, including 18 police officers and five migrants.

Violence flared throughout Friday in Rosarno, a town near the western coast of Calabria in the toe of the Italian peninsula. Police reinforcements were sent to the area, and the interior ministry created a task force to deal with the violence.

The rioting began after two men, one from Nigeria, the other from Togo, were wounded by pellet fire on Thursday. Migrants blamed racism, and protesters stoned police, attacked residents and smashed shop windows and cars.

Last night the violence was subsiding and the authorities bussed hundreds of migrants away from the town while others left by car or train, some leaving without collecting their wages. But about half the 1,000 or so migrants involved chose to stay, many of them setting up camp in an abandoned former cheese factory on the edge of town.

On Friday, more people, mostly from African nations and some armed with metal bars or wooden sticks, scuffled with police and residents in Rosarno. Among the residents arrested was one who tried to run over a migrant with a bulldozer and another who was taken into custody after driving at a migrant with a car.