Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A class of primary school children in Naples has shocked Italy after submitting homework which supported the burning of gypsy camps

Locals first set fire to the camp in retaliation when a gypsy girl had tried to steal a baby elsewhere in the city. Since then it has been repeatedly attacked, with more petrol bombs launched at its makeshift buildings. Teachers at the school had set the children the task of explaining how they felt about the persecution of the gypsies. The response was an alarming series of drawings and essays, many of which supported the vigilante action. The attacks and essays come against a backdrop of growing intolerance to immigrants, fuelled by hard-line partners in the new government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. A report by Amnesty International has warned that Italy was now “dangerous” for illegal immigrants. Italy’s statistics agency, ISTAT, has released numbers showing that immigrants are responsible for more than a third of the murders committed in 2007. ISTAT said foreigners had committed 70% of all petty theft, 39% of sexual offenses and 36% of murders.

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