Saturday, December 17, 2011

Update: Sengelese Community Protests Against Shooting Spree in Florence

Thousands marched against racism in Florence (Italy) on Saturday (December 17) after a n extreme-right activist shot and killed two Senegalese street vendors in a shooting spree in the historic Italian city on December 13.

An estimated 10,000 people took part in the demonstration, according to police, while organizers asserted that some 12,000 participated. Those in attendance carried Senegalese flags and placards.

Two Senegalese street vendors were killed and another three wounded before Gianluca Casseri, 50, a Holocaust denier and author of fantasy novels, went on the rampage on Tuesday with a Magnum revolver at two local markets, including the touristy San Lorenzo section. Casseri shot himself when responding police converged on him.

COMMENT: Dozens of Senegalese gathered at the Dalmazia Square market where the spree began to read passages from the Koran and pray in commemoration of the dead, as others left flowers and messages at an impromptu shrine.

At a similar march in Milan on Saturday in which hundreds of people took part, some immigrants shouted "Racists!" and "Murderers!" at police. Senegalese people staged other protests in the cities of Bologna and Naples. Many street vendors in Italian cities, who sell everything from African sculptures to tourist trinkets to counterfeit designer accessories, are Senegalese.

Although violence is never justified, it should be noted that Senegalese vendors invariably sell their wares without obtaining the necessary permits and often run when police visit their stalls. Consequently, calling the police "racists" and "murderers," is totally unjustified, as the police were attempting to take Casseri into custody when he killed himself.

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