On Wednesday afternoon, Italian police clashed with Chinese factory workers during a health and safety inspection at a Chinese-owned textile factory in Sesto Fiorentino, a suburb of Florence where many small Chinese factories are located.
According to local reports, the brawl began after an elderly Chinese man was stopped from leaving the factory with a baby in his arms. Four policemen and three workers were injured in the resulting fracas.
Afterwards, around 300 Chinese workers faced off outside with police, waving Chinese flags, singing the Chinese national anthem and even tossing some stones. The protest went on into the night.
The Chinese Consulate General in Florence said that upon receiving news of the incident, he immediately requested that Italian police uphold the law in a civilized manner, protect Chinese citizens’ rights, appropriately handle the question and settle the matter as quickly as possible, Tencent reports.
Italian police apparently heard the consulate general loud and clear. According to thelocal.it, they carried out raids on nine locations earlier today in the nearby town of Prato, home to one of the biggest Chinese communities in Europe. The raids were aimed at a Chinese group called “The City of the White Stag,” which police say has been carrying out vigilante style patrols in the area that have led to attacks on North Africans.
We’ll have to see what this means for continued collaboration between Italian and Chinese police forces. In May, four Chinese police officers went on patrol in downtown Rome and Milan to provide additional assistance to their compatriots abroad. At some point in the nearish future, Italian police officers are scheduled to do the same in Beijing and Shanghai.
[Images via Tencent]