An Italian man has been arrested after a Nigerian street vendor was beaten to death on a busy shopping street. Politicians slammed “indifference” as passersby apparently had not physically intervened.The mayor of an Italian town on Saturday condemned the killing of a Nigerian vendor in broad daylight in an apparent dispute over a woman.
Alika O. was beaten and killed in the Adriatic Sea coastal city of Civitanova Marche while onlookers filmed the incident without any apparent attempt to intervene, local media reported.
Mayor Tommaso Claudio Corvatta blasted what he said was a “climate of intolerance” that “has been raging in the city for some time now.”
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What do we know about the killing?
Alika O. was selling goods at about 2 p.m. local time (1200 UTC/GMT) Friday on the city’s main street when his attacker grabbed a crutch the vendor used to walk and struck him down, police said.
Media reports say the victim had asked the attacker’s girlfriend to buy his scarves or give him change.
Video footage of the attack shows the assailant then wrestling the victim to the pavement as the victim fought back.
Eventually, Alika O. was subdued by the weight of his attacker.
Although no passerby tried to physically intervene, the police were called and tried to administer aid to the victim, police chief Matteo Luconi told Italian news channel Sky TG24.
Video footage filmed later shows the victim lying motionless with a white sheet covering his entire body.
Police used street cameras to track the assailant’s movements and later detained a man.
He was identified as Filippo F., 32, and was being held on suspicion of murder and theft after being accused of stealing the victim’s phone, as well.
Filippo F.’s girlfriend told the police hthat er partner had lost his temper because the seller was insistent that they buy something.
Daniel Amanza, who runs the ACSIM association for immigrants in the Marche region’s Macerata province, said the victim had called the attacker’s girlfriend “bella,” the Italian word for “beautiful.”
“This compliment killed him,” Amanza told The Associated Press news agency. “The tragic fact is that there were many people nearby. They filmed, saying ‘stop,’ but no one moved to separate them.”
Who was Alika O.?
Alika O. sold tissues and small accessories on a main shopping street in Civitanova Marche, a city that lies about 240 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of Rome.
Local media reports said he had lost his job as a laborer because of mobility issues after being hit by a car while riding a bicycle. He needed a crutch to walk.
The 39-year-old was married and had an 8-year-old son. He had been in Italy for about a decade, according to local media.
What has been the reaction to the killing?
The killing comes as Italy is in the midst of campaigning for elections on September 25 in which the right-wing coalition has already made immigration an issue.
Italy’s acting health minister, Roberto Speranza, hit out at the lack of aid given to the victim, saying that “indifference is as serious and unjustifiable as violence.”
“The murder of Alika O. is dismaying,” Enrico Letta, the head of the left-wing Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter. “Unheard of ferocity. Widespread indifference. There can be no justification.”
Far-right leaders Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, who have been outspoken against immigration, also denounced the killing and hoped that “the sentence will be the maximum possible” for the murderer.
Several people, including members of the Nigerian community, gathered Saturday in Civitanova Marche and nearby Ancona to demand justice.
Editor’s note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.