Aboubakar Soumahoro during a demonstration in support of migrant farmworkers in Puglia | Photo: ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO
Aboubakar Soumahoro during a demonstration in support of migrant farmworkers in Puglia | Photo: ANSA/FRANCO CAUTILLO

Aboubakar Soumahoro, a well-known trade unionist for migrants in Italy, has said that a Roman taxi driver told him he had to sit in the front seat or else the driver wouldn't let him inside the taxi.

Aboubakar Soumahoro, a young activist who works with migrants exploited by gangmasters, shared the reported incident on Twitter: 
"You get in front or you can't get in my taxi, a driver told me this morning in Rome," Soumahoro tweeted on October 9. "A few minutes later, he let two passengers sit in the back seats. This injustice must be denounced: it doesn't represent the thousands of taxi drivers who work hard and with professionalism." 

The tweet received many supportive comments. 

"Shocked and incredulous" 

The alleged incident took place at a taxi stand in a central area of Rome. Soumahoro said he walked away after the driver insisted he had to sit in the front. He took down the number of the taxi and the cooperative the driver worked for. 

"While I was walking away, I was shocked and incredulous," Soumahero said on social media. "I also saw that the driver let two Italians get in. [...] Why did he want me to sit only in the front? That driver has to explain to the competent authorities," he said on social media.

Soumahoro is a well-known labor unionist, with whom Pope Francis took a selfie last Labour Day, May 1. The activist, who has a degree in sociology from the University of Naples Federico II, works on organising farmworkers against exploitation and gangmasters. He is one of the founders of the International Coalition of Sans-Papiers, Migrants and Refugees (CISPM) und works with a trade union called USB. 

Labour unionist for migrant farmworkers 

This year, Soumahoro published his first book, titled "Umanità in Rivolta" (Humanity in Revolt). 

In July, together with the exploited migrant farmworkers who work in inhumane conditions in Puglia, he organised a sit-in at San Nicola cathedral in Bari. 

In June, after having organised a fundraiser in USB raised 40,000 euros, Soumahoro accompanied the body of his friend Soumaila Sacko, a labor unionist and migrant farmworker, back to Mali. Sacko was killed in an abandoned factory in Calabria, in the province of Vibo Valentia. Soumahoro kept a diary on social media during the painful journey. He took the trip to transport Sacko's body back to his family and to give some support to his children and his wife. 

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