Protesters set fire to mounds of rubbish in the Italian city of Naples in protest at the authorities failure to clear the streets of tonnes of stinking garbage.
Fire fighters spent Friday battling around 65 fires.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to end the chronic rubbish crisis that has dragged on for years, but the festering trash remains on the streets and the dumps are overflowing.
Luigi De Magistris is the city’s newly elected mayor:
“From the moment we started our environmental work with four decrees signed by the mayor in four days, the fires broke out again, but not as bad as before.”
The Camorra, the Naples mafia, runs most waste-collection in the city and is being accused of putting residents lives at risk while profiting from the chaos:
Fear also plays a part, one resident said:“I’ll pay for it, but who is going to protect me? Did you hear about the chief traffic officer who sued an unknown person…they torched his car.”
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano recently visited the city and said he was alarmed by conditions there and put pressure on Berlusconi to find a solution.
Rome blames local politicians for the mess, but the city’s mayor says Berlusconi has acted like Pontius Pilate and washed his hands of the problem. Still, the stench remains.