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Thousands march in anti-mafia protests across Italy

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Thousands march in anti-mafia protests across Italy
File photo of the protest in a previous year: Damien Meyers/AFP
10:38 CET+01:00
Thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday in a protest organized by anti-mafia organization Libera.

The main march took place in Locri in Calabria - the toe of Italy's boot, but sister marches were organized across the country alongside other events aimed at raising awareness of mafia violence.

Father Luigi Ciotti, the founder of anti-mafia organization Libera, led the march together with Pietro Grasso, the president of the Italian Senate and a prominent anti-mafia magistrate.

Families of mafia victims took place in the protest, as well as demonstrators of all ages and backgrounds. Among them was a group of migrant minors who had arrived to Calabria by boat in recent months.

Protesters carry banners with the slogan 'The mafia kills... so does silence.'

In total, at least 10,000 people were expected to participate in the Locri event - see the livestream below.


March 21st 2017 is the first officially recognized Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Mafia Violence, though Libera has been marking the date with demonstrations and other events since 1996. This year, the day has the slogan: "Places of hope, testimonies of beauty."

Simultaneous marches are taking place in cities across the country, and the day is also being marked by events in schools and cultural organizations.

 

#libera #liberaliguria #memoriaeimpegno

A post shared by Manuela Farina (@manu.farina91) on

Video showing marchers in the northern region of Liguria.

Libera's president, Daniela Marcone, described the official recognition of the day as "an important step" in the continuing fight against mafia extortion and violence.

"We have gone through the pain of loss, knowing that those gunshots, those explosions, killed our loved ones and also a part of us," she said earlier in the month, adding that from this pain "we have gained the strength to react, to turn it into engagement." 
 
There are various mafia groups in Italy, the largest and most infamous being the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria and the Camorra in Naples.
 
The groups are behind crimes ranging from murder to blackmail to drug dealing, and are thought to have rigged local elections in some southern areas, exercising considerable influence in the business and political spheres.
 
Want to learn more? You can find all of our news articles about the mafia here, or start by reading the features below.

Long-read: How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily

Political influence: The Italian village where the mafia 'stole' the right to vote

Naples police arrest 31 suspected mobsters, including 'mafia daughters'

Antimafia police during a Naples raid on clan members. Photo: Roberto Salamone/AFP

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