Italy: Racists burn down Romani camp after girl falsely claims she was raped
An enraged crowd burned down a Romani camp near the Italian city of Turin over the weekend. Agence France-Presse and the web server of The Guardian newspaper report that the mob violence was sparked by the false claims of an adolescent girl that she had been raped by two Romani men.
The pogrom took place on Saturday in the Vallette suburb of Turin. The 16-year-old girl told her parents she had been harmed by two Romani men. "Two Gypsies raped me when I entered the building," she said.
Several hundred enraged people took to the streets to protest the crime. A group of about 50 people, armed with Molotov cocktails, rocks, and sticks left the demonstration, headed for the Romani encampment, and set fire to caravans, sheds and tents there.
The girl later confessed that she had not been forced into sexual intercourse and that she had invented the rape story because she had just slept with her boyfriend. She lied in order to escape the wrath of her family. Italian daily La Repubblica reports the girl had promised her parents she would remain a virgin until her wedding. Police officers had to bring her brother to the scene of the pogrom to explain everything and calm the crowd.
Police also said the Romani camp had been evacuated prior to the attack and that there were no injuries. Two men aged 20 and 59 were arrested for inciting violence. Paola Bragantini, secretary of the Democratic Party in Turin, said the hard core of the violent group had been comprised primarily of die-hard fans of the Juventus Turin football club. The Romani camp is located next to the football stadium.