Monday, February 12, 2018

Italian elections could hinge on immigration, far-right backlash

More than 600,000 migrants, mostly from Africa, have reached Italian shores
With Italy's general elections scheduled for March 4, issues surrounding migration dominate, with political observers saying the vote could turn on public reaction to a series of gruesome events in the small central Italian town of Macerata.

An anti-immigration backlash swept through Italy following reports that the disembodied body of Pamela Mastropietro, 18, was found Jan. 31 in two suitcases in Macerata days after she left a drug rehabilitation center.

It was not clear whether Mastropietro was killed or died of a drug overdose; however, a Nigerian migrant with a history of drug-dealing was arrested in connection with her death, sparking public anger toward Italy's migration policy.

Three days later, Luca Trani, who stood as a candidate for the far-right Northern League in local elections in Macerata last year, confessed to shooting at Africans in the small town. During a two-hour rampage, Trani injured five men and one woman.

Before his arrest, Trani - with an Italian flag draped over his shoulders - was seen making fascist salutes and shouting far-right slogans, including "Italy for Italians."

More than 600,000 migrants, mostly from Africa, have reached Italian shores in the past four years, sparking a backlash that fueled the rise of Italy's center and far-right.

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