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Roma people of Romania origin targeted by extremists in Italy

Luni, 20 august 2007, 0:00

Photo: AP

A previously unknown group of Italian extremists, the Armed Group for Ethnic Cleansing (GAPE), claimed in a letter to an Italian newspaper last weekend that they were behind the death of several Roma children originating from Romania in a fire in Livorno on August 11.

The group said in the letter to Ill Tirreno newspaper, quoted by Toscana TV, that it aimed at the cleansing of all Roma people in Italy, whom they warn that they have 20 days to leave the country starting August 25 before more serious attacks take place against them.

According to Italian media, the group is not known to Italian authorities. The letter has been delivered to prosecutors in Livorno.

It was so far believed that the fire where the Roma children, all from Romania, died on August 11 was sparked by a candle. Italian authorities quoted by Romanian media on Monday say they still sticked to this version as there was little evidence to support the GAPE claims.

Scandals involving Roma people who arrived in Italy from Romania over the past several years have been drawing intense attention from Italian media as local communities repeatedly intervened against turbulent groups of Roma people on their own as authorities were failing to act.

In December last year, several illegal camps of Roma people from Romania were put on fire by the people of small Italian town Milanese, fed up with the scandals and the thefts committed by the members of a Roma camp in the town.

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