Anti-racist groups in Italy have warned of a dangerous acceleration in attacks on immigrants after 12 shootings, two murders and 33 physical assaults were recorded in the two months since Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party, entered government as interior minister.
Opposition politicians have accused Salvini of creating a climate of hate following the attacks, which have coincided with an anti-migration drive that has included closing Italian ports to NGO rescue boats and a vow to expel non-Italian Roma.
In one incident in July, a 13-month-old Roma girl was shot in the back with an airgun pellet. In at least two recent attacks on immigrants, the perpetrators have allegedly shouted Salvini’s name.
“Propaganda around anti-migrant policies has clearly contributed to creating a climate of hostility and to legitimising racist violence,” said Grazia Naletto, the manager of migration policies and racial discrimination of the Lunaria association, which publishes quarterly reports on the number of racially motivated attacks in Italy.
“We are facing a dangerous acceleration of episodes of violence against migrants,” Naletto said.
The group recorded nine attacks on immigrants between 1 June and 1 August 2017, with no shootings and no deaths – less than a third for same period in 2018.
On Sunday, a Moroccan man in Aprilia, 17 miles outside Rome, was the latest to be killed. He was followed and beaten to death by two young Italians who claimed he was a thief.
Three days earlier, in #Vicenza, in the north-east of Italy, a 33-year-old factory worker from Cape Verde was wounded by a single gunshot. The suspect is a 40-year-old Italian who opened fire from a window in his home.
On Thursday night