Strangers on a Train, Italian Style

A trip to the seaside turned into a nightmare for Italian passengers when culture-enrichers boarded and took over their train. Notice that the train in question set off from Ventimiglia, the city right on the French border where migrants back up waiting to get into France after making their way north from Lampedusa, Sicily, and other migrant reception centers in the far south of Italy.

Many thanks to FouseSquawk for translating this article from La Stampa:

Five hours on a train at the mercy of gang

Passengers hostage to 60 youths. Aggression and torn seats. Nobody makes them get off.

“It was a traumatic trip. I always take the train for a trip to the sea, but I never have experienced such a spectacle.” Simona, a student from Turin, was among the 300 passengers who had the misfortune to travel on the regional (train) Sunday from Ventimiglia to Turin. She boarded at Laigueglia at 4:20 in the afternoon and saw the lights of the station at Porta Nuova when it was already past nine. But it wasn’t the almost five hours of the trip that astounded her. Rather it was what happened inside and outside the train cars.

[Video caption: Thugs on the seaside train Ventimiglia-Turin. Here is the video of the police in pursuit.]

The Testimony

“The nightmare began when we arrived at Finale. Here a group of youths boarded. There were so many, I think North African, all of them minors, I think. With them were Italian girls. They were drunk. They continued to move among the compartments. They hid in the bathrooms, I imagine so as not to be seen by the conductor. The situation degenerated when one of the youths began to shout: One of the Maghrebians was choking a girl by the neck. ‘A joke’, he said in defense, but a couple of pensioners requested the intervention of the train conductor. “We stopped at the Cengio station,” recounted Simona. There were Carabinieri and they made the group get off. Ambulances arrived. Three girls were treated; they were about 14 years old. I saw the military, who were trying to get in contact with the parents by telephone.”

Almost one and a half hours passed and the regional train departed. But the 60 Maghrebians were also on board. “At the end they didn’t even make them pay a fine. And they spent the rest of the trip harassing all of the other passengers. They said, “You see? They can’t do anything to us.” Prior to arriving in Turin, they took their rage out on the seats of a compartment, torn with knives, and the bathrooms were rendered completely unusable. Once at Porta Nuova, there was a general panic. “ I got off and left the station among cordons of police. But I saw with my own eyes a bunch of those boys who escaped running in the middle of the tracks. In sum, I believe that the major part of them, after all they had done, got away.”

The Investigations

Simona seems to be correct: At least for now, awaiting the report of the train conductor, the rail police have been able to identify a pair of foreigners, who remain at large. In the meantime, Rfi confirms the damage found on the regional train. And Sunday night all traffic at Porta Nuova was interrupted for about 20 minutes.

The issue of the regional trains that connect Turin and Cuneo each day had already emerged two years ago when the unions put it on the list of the 15 most dangerous routes in Italy. Denounced by other critiques by the same controllers, they were left alone to regulate life on board after the cuts imposed in the summer of 2014. Thus, the routes were watched by the POLFER patrols (railway police) for months. But the chronicle of acts of vandalism and assaults is recent. Just last April 6 on the Intercity Turin-Savona a 40-year-old man was surrounded and beaten. Trying to save his wallet and telephone he suffered a broken nose and cranial trauma: he had to spend the night in a hospital. The attackers, three Moroccans about 20 years old, were traced by the Carabinieri to Fossano: It resulted in a criminal complaint. Another episode on the afternoon of the following day, at Savigliano. Three more Maghrebians were seated next to a 25-year-old female student. They bothered her, distracted her and escaped with her purse. The Carabinieri fought with them in the station. Two of them are minors.


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