Two young migrants were assaulted in a pair of racist incidents just one day apart in two different regions of Italy.
In two recent violent episodes just 24 hours apart and in two regions of Italy distant from one another, two young men from Guinea were victims of racist violence.
The first episode took place in Francavilla Fontana, a town of 36,000 residents in the southern province of Brindisi, where a group of young men first insulted and then beat a 17-year-old migrant.
A day later in Sassari, another 22-year-old migrant was assaulted on the island of Sardinia.
The first case, in the Puglia region, happened on Sunday evening and came to light through Facebook. Based on witness accounts, the migrant teen rode his bike up to a group of Italians his age. After he greeted a girl, chaos broke out, with racist insults followed by kicks and punches. The group beating was only stopped when an adult intervened, causing the aggressors to flee.
Just 24 hours later in Sassari, another young migrant from Sassari who arrived as a refugee and now is a student, crossed a group of young men, one of whom elbowed him. When the migrant asked the young man why he elbowed him, he responded, "In my home, I do what I want, if you don't like it, you can go back to your home," and then punched the migrant in the face.
In this case, like the first, the violence turned into a group beating. Girls yelled at numerous passersby for help. A man driving a van stopped and intervened, stopping the beating. The aggressors fled, hurling racial insults as they left.
Both cases are currently under investigation. The episodes brought a wave of reactions from politicians as well as figures in the governmental, social, economic, and cultural fields, all of whom made it known that there should be no space for cases like this in Italy. Many local institutional officials said the current climate of intolerance is being fed by members of the national government.