news world

Killing of Nigerian street seller causes outrage in Italy

Video footage of a Nigerian street seller being attacked and killed in broad daylight in Italy has sparked a row over far-right parties’ xenophobic tactics in the country’s election campaign.

Alika Ogorchukwu, 39, was killed on Friday in the centre of Civitanova Marche, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea. According to Italian media reports and witnesses, the attack began after Ogorchukwu made “insistent” requests to sell handkerchiefs and “for pocket change”.

Video recorded by onlookers who apparently did not attempt to intervene shows the attacker wrestling Ogorchukwu on to his back on the pavement as the victim tried to fight back. The assailant allegedly grabbed a crutch that the vendor used to walk and struck him down.

A 32-year-old man from Salerno, in the Campania region, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The attack was also recorded on several surveillance cameras. Matteo Luconi, the chief of the flying squad in Macerata, said: “Witnesses will be heard and camera images viewed to clarify the dynamics of the beating.”

Hundreds of people from the Nigerian community and Italians protested in Civitanova Marche on Saturday. Some compared the killing to that of George Floyd in the US.

Orgorchukwu’s wife, Charity Oriachi, said: “I want to look that man in the eye and ask him why he killed my husband. There were so many people around, why didn’t anyone help him? I want justice now.”

The incident has caused outrage in Italy, which will hold snap elections on 25 September. A coalition led by Brothers of Italy and including Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is tipped to win power.

A few days after Mario Draghi confirmed his resignation as prime minister on 21 July, members and leaders of the coalition began preparing their electoral campaign by posting on Twitter news of crimes and rapes allegedly committed by “fake refugees” and “illegal immigrants”. Tackling immigration and tightening national security are among the coalition’s priorities.

Aboubakar Soumahoro, an Italian-Ivorian activist, trade unionist and sociologist, said: “Some political parties are legitimising fear and hatred towards those who are different. This is a serious danger that we must fight every day.”

Don Vinicio Albanesi, a local priest and founder of the Capodarco Community, an association that takes care of refugees and people with disabilities, told La Repubblica: “We live in a distrustful region, where black people are accepted only if they do the humblest of jobs. We are dealing here with a culture that despises anyone who is not white and local. You have to think that when a black priest says mass then there are people who come to me to complain because according to them that mass is not valid.”

The Marche region has been ruled since 2020 by Brothers of Italy, a descendant of the neofascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). The party’s leader, Giorgia Meloni, who could become Italy’s first far-right leader since Mussolini, once said Italy needed to “repatriate the migrants back to their countries and then sink the boats who rescued them”.

Many on social media accused Salvini and Meloni of spreading hatred against asylum seekers during their political rallies. Enrico Letta, the leader of the leftwing Democratic party, tweeted: “Unheard of ferocity. Widespread indifference. There can be no justification.”

Francesco Acquaroli, the Brothers of Italy president of the Marche region, condemned the killing. “Along with expressing deep condolences to Alika’s family, it is also necessary to reiterate the firm condemnation of an act of insane and unprecedented violence, which has no justification and which damages the entire Marche region,” Acquaroli said.

Salvini and Meloni also denounced the killing and said they hoped the perpetrator would receive the maximum possible sentence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button