Mobs burn gypsy camps in Naples
Tuesday 22 June 1999
Nearly 1,000 gypsies fled their caravans and shacks in four separate areas after the camps were torched in a revenge attack. About 200 have dared to return and they are being protected by carabinieri and militants of the Refounded Communist Party while they try to rebuild their homes.
Police are guarding the smouldering charred remains of the other camps after incidents of looting. The attack, which has shocked the inhabitants of the traditionally tolerant southern Italian city, took place in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Witnesses at the first camp to be burnt say they were told to get out by a mob of locals, some of whom were armed. Families grabbed what they could and fled.
Soon afterwards, groups of men torched the fragile shacks and caravans, that had been homes to families of Rom, as gypsies are called.
The victims say police never intervened despite several calls to the emergency services. "How come the police didn't intervene? How is it possible that in Naples squads like those in South America roam freely, forcing people out of their homes and setting property on fire, " complained Amadeo Curatoli, of the support group Opera Nomadi.
At first it was thought to be a settling of scores between local mafia, the Camorra, and criminals among the gypsies, but investigators have now excluded the involvement of organised crime.
It is now clear it was a revenge attack for a hit-and-run accident involving a young Serbian gypsy who lived in one of Naples' rundown suburbs.
On Friday, two young women on a scooter were hit by a BMW travelling at high speed, driven by the gypsy. The man, who had been drinking did not stop, and has since disappeared. Anna Monfrecola, 19, star player of the Sorrento Women's Football Club, is in an irreversible coma.
Her mother, Anna, said: "Everyone has rushed to the defence of these nomads but no one has thought about my daughter, or about her grief-stricken family. We in the Scampia neighbourhood are second-grade citizens. If I found him I would kill him with my bare hands."
The girl's father has been questioned by police after he told journalists that he and his neighbours had decided to take the law into their own hands.
Little progress has been made in trying to convince the Rom to return, as they are fearful of more attacks, especially if the victim dies. The council is speeding up the creation of a proper camp for them, but faces opposition from nearby residents.
The Archbishop of Naples, Cardinale Michele Giordano, who visited the camps last night,described it as an act of barbarity but said the roots lay in the fact that the people of the rundown Scampia neighbourhood felt abandoned. Don Aniello Manganiello, a priest in Naples went further: "Here the state is completely absent."
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now'
4Chan 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...