Italian police have arrested 11 suspected members of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia in Rosarno, where violent racial clashes last week have been blamed on organised crime.
The head of the regional anti-mafia unit, Diego Trotta, said the arrests were not directly linked to the riots but show that the authorities are taking control of the area.
Calabria’s Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone added that ongoing inquiries will determine whether the ‘Ndrangheta were responsible for the recent unrest.
Trouble involving African immigrants, local residents and police flared after two immigrant workers were shot at with air guns. Local anti-mafia officials say they are certain they were fired by ‘Ndrangheta members wanting to assert their authority.
Meanwhile, NGOs say squalid conditions for immigrants and government inaction are also to blame.
Loris De Dilippi, of the Italian branch of Doctors Without Borders, said: “We have been able to visit these places for the last six summers and winters for the orange harvests and we have realised that the situation has not changed even if governments and officials have.”
The European Union, the Vatican and the United Nations body for human rights have added to pressure on the Italian government to improve living conditions for thousands of cheap African labourers across southern Italy.