On May 13th 2008, after the first violent attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli district of Naples, law enforcement agents decided to evacuate smaller camps and concentrate the former residents in a bigger camp with a police cordon around it, in order to protect them better. During the night of the 13th and 14th May, another camp in the district was evacuated and the 60 persons living in it were moved to a school on the opposite side of the city. Others left their shacks in small groups of two to three families to look for hospitality in camps in other districts of the city, or to join relatives outside the city.

Some local administrators and NGOs claimed that organised crime (the Camorra) may have been behind the attacks. In support of their claims, they point to the fact that the area where the camps were located fell under the Urban Rehabilitation Programme (PRU) approved by the municipal council with a pre-financing amount of 67 million euros and the condition that work would have to start on the programme before and no later than the 4th August, otherwise the prefinancing would be withdrawn. They argued that the Prefecture of Naples had already planned to evacuate the camps and to demolish the shacks so that construction work could start in the designated PRU area.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Interior in a statement addressing the Parliament on the 29th May unreservedly condemned the violence and intolerance against the Roma and reaffirmed the government’s will to act firmly to remove the causes at the root of these manifestations of intolerance. He also stated that according to a report of the investigative branch of the Naples police department (DIGOS) forwarded to the judicial authority there was no evidence at that time of “Camorra” criminality in the organisation or management of the attackers, without ruling out the possibility that local criminal elements may have used the situation to secure their presence on the territory.


  • Domenico Pizzuti, ‘I vespri napoletani di Ponticelli’, in OsservAzione – Centro di ricerca azione contro la discriminazione dei rom e sinti, 17.11.2008 - http://www.osservazione.org/pizzuti.htm (Date of access: 14.11.2011)