Italy: man sets himself on fire in protest against illegal loans

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Italy: man sets himself on fire in protest against illegal loans

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The head of an anti-racketeering organisation in Italy has set himself on fire in a protest against illegal loans – usually given by criminal organisations.

Frediano Manzi doused himself with petrol in front of the Milan headquarters of Italian media company RAI, to whom he had written a letter about why he was taking such extreme measures.

In the letter, Manzi, who heads up SOS Racket, says he was “doing it for the victims of usury that no one helps.”

Journalist and expert on anti-racketeering Nello Scavo explained the situation in Italy.

“There are concrete difficulties, especially for families and small businesses, because in Italy it’s not possible, for private citizens or families, to get access to state funds to compensate racketeering victims. It’s slightly easier for companies,” said Scavo.

“Unfortunately in Italy a vast majority of the victims, especially due to the economic crisis, are families who can’t get bank loans any more and who therefore turn to this form of illegal and clandestine credit,” he added.

Manzi was found by a passing tram driver who quickly put out the flames.

The anti-racketeering advocate is in a“serious but non-life threatening” condition in hospital after suffering third degree burns all over his body.