Mobs burn gypsy camps in Naples

SEVERAL HUNDRED gypsies, including old people and children, endured another night in civil protection tents in Naples yesterday after locals burnt their camps at the weekend.

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea