They are at the centre of some of Italy’s worst racial unrest in years.
After two nights of clashes with locals in the southern town of Rosarno, these immigrant workers headed for temporary accommodation today in other nearby centres.
They say they are afraid to stay, accusing locals of racism. Their anger spilled over on Thursday when a gang of white youths fired air guns at a group of African migrants. The ensuing riots left scores wounded.
Some observers say the unrest also stems from anger with crime syndicates which exploit cheap immigrant labour on local farms.
Whatever the long term impact of the violence, it has inflamed Italy’s long running political debate on immigration.
The interior minister has blamed excessive tolerance, while others have accused the government of fuelling xenophobia.
And while the unrest has subsided for now, the situation remains tense.