A 16-year-old Italian girl who claimed she had been raped by two men from a local gypsy camp has admitted she made the story up. Her claim sparked the burning of the gypsy camp by a vigilante mob.
When a 16-year-old Italian girl from the deprived Turin suburb of La Vallette lost her virginity to her Italian boyfriend, she claimed she was raped by two gypsies from the nearby camp, close to the Juventus football stadium. On Saturday night a mass vigilante mob from La Vallette avenged the alleged rape by setting fire to the makeshift gypsy homes as the gypsies fled.
According to the Guardian the arsonists called for all women and children to leave the area before setting fire to shacks and caravans. Firefighters fought the blaze for two hours, apparently hindered by arsonists. The Daily Mail reported that calm was only restored when the brother of the girl who cried rape arrived on the scene to admit his sister had fabricated the story.
The girl had admitted she lied as she was afraid her parents, who expected her to remain a virgin until she married, would find out she had slept with her boyfriend. The gypsies became an easy target as their presence in the area was abhorred by local people who wanted the camp closed down. Police are investigating links between Juventus supporters and Saturday's violence.
The Roma remain an unpopular minority in Italy. Their number increased to 160,000 following Romania's entry into the EU. Many live in illegal shanty towns and have been blamed for an increase in crime and begging.
Human Rights Watch says "The government spends far more energy blaming migrants and Roma for Italy's problems than it does on efforts to stop violent attacks on them," adding "Roma, the most vilified minority in Italy today, are especially at risk of harassment and mistreatment during camp evictions and in police or Carabinieri custody." It also points out the government engages in anti-Roma rhetoric.
The Mayor of Turin, Piero Fassino, denounced Saturday's lynch mob. The girl whosw lies fueled the attack could be charged for giving false evidence.