Pope speaks up for Roma minority after racist incidents in Rome
“I pray for you, I am close to you. And when I read something nasty in the newspaper, I tell you the truth, I suffer. Today, I read something nasty and I am suffering,’’ Francis said.
This week, protests led by the neo-fascist CasaPound party have erupted in a district of Rome against the assignment of a council flat to a 14-member Roma family from Bosnia.
Several Italian media have published a video in which a CasaPound activist called the mother of the Roma family a “whore’’ and threatened to rape her.
The incident took place on Tuesday.
The woman was carrying a baby in her arms and had to be escorted into her newly acquired council apartment building by police.
Protests against Roma people, commonly blamed for thefts and other crimes – are common in Rome.
Parties like CasaPound say the state should put “Italians first,’’ before immigrants and Roma people.
Francis criticised moves to create second-class citizens, deploring people with a “this one first, then the other one’’ mentality when it comes to welfare rights.
“Yes, second-class citizens do exist, but the real second-class citizens are those who discard people because they cannot embrace them,’’ the pontiff said.