African farm workers strike in Foggia while marching against working conditions chanting “We are not slaves, No to exploitation” as Salvini declares war on mafia exploiting them
Hundreds of mostly African farm labourers downed tools and marched from fields in southern Italy chanting “we are not slaves” Wednesday, protesting conditions for tomato pickers after 16 migrant workers died in two road crashes.
The near-identical accidents within 48 hours of each other have highlighted the plight of farm workers around the the city of Foggia in the Puglia region, where thousands of foreign nationals spend the summer season harvesting tomatoes, often at the mercy of day labourer recruiters sometimes linked to organised crime.
Striking demonstrators shouted “we are not slaves, no to exploitation” as they made their way from the countryside towards Foggia.
Italy’s government has scrambled to respond to the outcry over the deaths, with hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declaring war on the “mafia” in and around Foggia and promising to eradicate it “street by street, town by town”, during a visit to the region on Tuesday.