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December 6, 2021



Italy: Almost 1 000 Roma and Sinti march in Milan on Romani Resistance Day

17.5.2019 18:36
Protest march by Roma and Sinti in Milan, Italy, 16 May 2019. (PHOTO:  Khetane)
Protest march by Roma and Sinti in Milan, Italy, 16 May 2019. (PHOTO: Khetane)

On 16 May almost 1 000 Romani people took the streets in Milan to send the clear message to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini that they are full-fledged citizens demanding that their rights be upheld. The date of the protest - 16 May - was not chosen randomly, as it refers to Romani Resistance Day, when, at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, Romani prisoners are believed to have risen up against members of the SS, and the day has recently become an occasion for commemorating their bravery.

The association Kethane organized a political discussion prior to the street procession during which some leading political parties' candidates in the upcoming European Parliament elections were supposed to answer questions from the audience. Gianni Gancia from the governing Lega party, from which Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini hails, left the event before there could be discussion.

Those attending the subsequent procession to the office of the prefecture expressed their disappointment with Salvini, saying: "The silence from the Interior Minister after the incidents in Rome says more than a 1 000 words." They were referring to recent incidents such as a protest led by CasaPound, a neo-Fascist party, against renting a municipally-owned apartment to a 14-member Romani family from Bosnia.

Several Italian media outlets published video footage of an activist from CasaPound calling the mother of the Romani family a "whore" and threatening to rape her. The woman was carrying a child in her arms and needed a police escort to access the housing.

"A hate campaign is being conducted against us Roma and Sinti. Xenophobic parties, including Lega, have allowed the Fascists to lift up their heads and feel they are in the right to attack us not just verbally, but also physically," a speaker said to the assembly.

Organizers from the Kethane association then delivered a letter addressed to Salvini to the Milanese prefect. "After the recent attacks against Romani families we are asking to be able to live in calm and safety," the declaration said.



redakce, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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