African migrant farm workers stage protest in Italy

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Hundreds of farm labourers of African origin have marched from fields in southern Italy in protest against alleged poor working conditions of tomato pickers.

The protesters marched the streets of Foggia in the Puglia region, chanting “we are not slaves, no to exploitation.”

The incident comes following the deaths of 16 migrant workers in two road accidents within 48 hours. Both accidents occurred when lorries transporting tomatoes crashed into vans carrying farm workers returning from their day’s work.

The farm workers’ pay is reported to be as low as one euro ($1.16) for picking 100kg (221lb) of tomatoes.

Reports also indicate that the workers are sometimes recruited by people linked to mafias, and the deaths have caused much public anger.

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini visited the region on Tuesday, promising to fight the “mafia” in and around Foggia and to destroy it “street by street, town by town”, the agency reports.

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