ITALY NEWS

Riots heard round the world

Beijing defends Milans Chinatown
(issue no. 54/2007 / April 19, 2007)
The Chinese government intervened last week in a spat between Milans Chinese community and the local authorities, calling for a balanced solution to the problems which sparked a mini-riot in the northern Italian city. Chinese shopkeepers living in Milans small Chinatown clashed with police and traffic wardens over a crackdown on commercial traffic in the area. At least 25 officers were injured, along with more than a dozen protesters.

Bottles were thrown at baton-wielding police and two squad cars were badly damaged as hundreds of Chinese residents took to the streets for several hours near via Paolo Sarpi and via Bramante. The demonstrators waved Chinese flags and held up banners accusing police of targeting their community. At least 400 staged a sit-in on a nearby main road, causing havoc for motorists. The protest began after a traffic warden fined a Chinese woman who was transporting merchandise in her car.

Milans 13,000-strong Chinese community criticized authorities for imposing fines and inspections on shopkeepers and merchants for breaching road and trading regulations. The authorities are attempting to force the Chinese to abide by laws governing the hours in which merchandise can be unloaded and the methods by which they transfer their goods from vehicles to shops.

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