On March 10, thousands took to the streets of Florence for an anti-racism demonstration in memory of Idy Diene. Diene was Senegalese street vendor who was shot and killed by the former typographer Roberto Pirrone on March 5 in the city's Ponte Vespucci.
Rally for unity
The demonstrators marched from Piazza Santa Maria Novella to the area along the Arno River, in a peaceful manner, finally reaching Ponte Vespucci, where the Senegalese vendor was killed.
Around halfway through the demonstration, the protesters met with Florence's mayor Dario Nardella, who "symbolically embraced" the Senegalese community. The meeting was an attempt to reach out to the migrant community after the murder. On March 6, the day after Diene was killed, Mayor Nardella was forced to leave a protest after he was abused and spat at.
Nardella, in making closing remarks at the Basilicata di Santa Maria Novella, thanked the Senegalese community in Florence for having "shown once again that it is a peaceful community and of loving this city." He then stressed that "we all have a single thought in our hearts, and that is the pain and the feeling of fraternity towards Idy Diene. He is the one to whom we must dedicate this day, to him and all the people in the world who unjustly suffer pain and death." He then said that "I told his family that a day of mourning will be held here in Florence for all of us to remember Idy Diene toegther, without cultural and religious divisions."
Help for Diene's widow
The Tuscan regional government will give Ndeye Rokhaya Mbengue, Idy Diene's widow, 20,000 euros. This was announced by Governor Enrico Rossi during the march.
"There is a prevalence of a culture made of counterpositions, which fosters and exploits fears," Rossi said. "This culture must be fought."
Diene's murder has sparked fear and anger among migranst living in Florence: Fear of being killed for the color of their skin, though the investigation has excluded racial reasons behind the killing. The anger is due to the suspicion that racism is actually why he was killed. Many of the placards carried by protesters were against racism including one that said that '"Idy was a person of peace. We do not want problems!'." (An image of the rally in Florence. The banner says: "Idy Diene man of peace, the city hugs you". Credit: ANSA)