Social Unrest / Civil War

A far-right leader was bound and beaten by left-wing extremists in Italy.

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Massimo Ursino, a prominent member of the anti-immigration Forza Nuova group, was attacked in Palermo and required hospital treatment.

His balaclava-clad assailants bound his hands and feet with parcel tape, The Local reported, and the beating left him with head and facial injuries.

They pounced as Mr Ursino left a supermarket in central Palermo, in Sicily.

An anonymous claim of responsibility said the attack was "a demonstration of the fact that in Palermo there are people who have no fear of fighting fascism".

On its Facebook page Forza Nuova said it was "attempted murder". The group's national head, Roberto Fiore, accused the attackers of a "hate campaign". Mr Fiore is due to speak in Palermo at the weekend.

The assault on Tuesday night came in the run-up to Italy's general election in March.

A number acts of vandalism, intimidation and violence have taken place during the tense campaign, including a bullet placed in mail destined for a candidate for Parliament, and the knifing of two people affixing campaign posters. 

Interior Minister Marco Minniti warned on Wednesday that Italian organised crime syndicates could try to influence the results of the 4 March vote which will help determine Italy's next government. 

Hundreds of Africans and Asians armed with knives and iron rods fought running street battles in the northern port city of Calais on February 1, less than two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the area and pledged to crack down on illegal immigration.

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The clashes plunged Calais — emblematic of Europe's failure to control mass migration — into a war zone and reinforced the perception that French authorities have lost control of the country's security situation.

The mass brawls, fought in at least three different parts of Calais, erupted after a 37-year-old Afghan migrant running a human trafficking operation fired gunshots at a group of Africans who did not have money to pay for his services. Five Africans suffered life-threatening injuries.

Within an hour, hundreds of Eritreans, Ethiopians and Sudanese took to the streets of Calais and attacked any Afghans they could find. More than a thousand police officers using batons and tear gas were deployed to restore order. Two dozen migrants were hospitalized.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb described the level of violence in Calais as "unprecedented." He attributed the fighting to an escalating turf war between Afghan and Kurdish gangs seeking to gain control over human trafficking between Calais and Britain, which many migrants view as "El Dorado" because of its massive underground economy. Each day around 40 ferries depart Calais for Britain.

Vincent de Coninck, director of the charity Secours Catholique du Pas-de-Calais, said that rival gangs were trying to secure control over access to the port of Calais in order to induce payments of €2,500 ($3,100) from migrants seeking to stow away on trucks crossing the English Channel.

De Coninck added that the situation in Calais had deteriorated since January 18, when Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the so-called Sandhurst Treaty, in which May pledged to speed-up the processing of migrants hoping to travel to Britain from Calais.

According to de Coninck, Macron and May failed adequately to explain the contents of the new treaty. This failure, he said, had created false hopes among migrants from Africa and elsewhere that the treaty would improve their chances of reaching Britain. De Coninck further said that hundreds of new migrants had arrived in Calais during the two weeks since the treaty was signed. The surge of new arrivals, he said, had created an "imbalance" between Africans and Asians — thereby increasing inter-ethnic tensions. Read the full story by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute