Italy reels as hundreds attend funeral of young black man brutally beaten to death

A man holds up a picture of Willy Monteiro Duarte during a torch light procession in Paliano, Italy, on September 9, 2020
A man holds up a picture of Willy Monteiro Duarte during a torch light procession in Paliano, Italy, on September 9, 2020 Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP
By Euronews with AP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

21-year-old Willy Monteiro Duarte was brutally beaten to death after intervening in a fight to help a friend. Premier Giuseppe Conte and Italy’s interior minister attended the funeral.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hundreds of people in Italy walked in a funeral procession on Saturday for a young Black man whose brutal beating death has shaken up the country and drawn condemnation from the highest levels of government.

Premier Giuseppe Conte and Italy’s interior minister attended the funeral of 21-year-old Willy Monteiro Duarte, who was killed during a fight in Colleferro, a city on the outskirts of Rome, in the early hours of September 6.

Four Italians have been arrested, including a pair of brothers with police records, but to date, prosecutors haven’t indicated if the slaying was racially motivated.

Italian news reports have quoted witnesses as saying Monteiro Duarte, who was born in Rome and whose family is from the African island nation of Cape Verde, intervened while seeing a friend get beaten up in the fight and was then fatally beaten himself.

The funeral procession featured hundreds of people, most wearing white shirts and facemasks, walking toward the sporting stadium where Monteiro Duarte was honored and then clapping in respect as his casket was carried out. It was a strong show of solidarity for the young man, who was described as hard-working and upstanding by those who knew him.

Italy's prime minister was dismayed by Monteiro Duarte's death, calling the family to express his condolences. In a statement, Conte demanded justice and asked rhetorically what it means that someone could be killed in Italy for having tried to help a friend.

“Will we tell our children to turn their heads away? Not to intervene to quell disputes or to try to protect weaker friends or friends in obvious difficulty,” Conte said. “I don’t think this can be the answer or the way forward. Rather, we must multiply our efforts in every location and context, so that our children grow up with the culture of respect for everyone.”

Share this articleComments

You might also like

The oldest country in Europe: What’s behind Italy’s ageing problem?

Giulio Regeni was brutally killed in Egypt 8 years ago. Why is nobody in jail for his murder?

The Italy-Albania migration deal is costly, cruel and counterproductive