Thousands of anti-fascist demonstrators rallied on Saturday in the Italian cities of Rome, Milan, Palermo and Macerata, where six Africans were injured in a drive-by shooting a week ago.
Protesters warned against a revival of neo-fascist sentiment during the campaign for next month’s national election with right-wing politicians exploiting the issue of migration to poach for votes.
The 3 January shooting spree came after a Nigerian asylum-seeker, Innocent Oseghale, was arrested in connection with the gruesome discovery of the dismembered body of an 18-year-old Italian woman near Macerata.
The gunman, 28-year-old Luca Traini, who had unsuccessfully run in local elections with the right-wing, anti-immigration League party, also known as the Northern League, told police he was avenging the woman, named as Pamela Mastropietro. Traini had links to.
Traini, whose weapon was licensed, remains under arrest and faces up to 20 years in prison.
“What happened here was an act of terrorism,” said Amin Nour, an African migrant. “We are sorry for what happened to Pamela, it was something horrible, but monsters have no colour or origin, they are just monsters.”
The Macerata shootings have dominated recent days of campaigning for Italy’s 4 March parliamentary elections in which immigration is a major issue. More than 600,000 migrants have arrived on Italy’s shores from North Africa in the last four years.