Bus drivers in the Italian city of Parma are now being subjected to regular attacks by gangs of African migrants. The attacks follow a similar pattern every time, yet the police are apparently unwilling or unable to protect the bus drivers from harm.
Parma, the fury of immigrants. Bus driver “lynched”
Shocking aggression in Parma. The driver absorbs the insults of the migrant group. Then the break-in of the bus and the stomping with kicks and punches
by Giuseppe De Lorenzo
August 30, 2017
“What are you doing, what are you doing? Call the police.” The driver’s voice is broken because of the pain, slammed to the ground by an immigrant who strikes him with fists in the face. Two more migrants go up to him. They beat him repeatedly: one, two, three blows in the face.
Aggression with kicks and punches
Unheard-of violence. The driver remains on the ground, covered with bruises: seven days to recover from what should have been a normal shift of work.
We are in Parma bus station. Yesterday at 6:32pm on board a (bus) of the Tep, the local transport company. The driver, GP, 51, must begin the turn at that instant. The journey is always the same: from Parma to Mezzani, on an extra-urban road that starts right from the bus station. “When I arrived,” he told Il Giornale, “that group of migrants was sitting in the middle of the square camping out. I honked (the horn) to move them but they did not move, so I started to make zigzags to convince them to let me pass. They became enraged.”
GP parks the vehicle in the square. He had to allow some passengers on, but avoided opening the doors so as not to end up in the hands of the furious migrants. Then a cellphone picks up what happens in those minutes of madness. In the video, seven or eight individuals, including two women, are seen slamming their fists on the vehicle’s glass and screaming at the driver, who was barricaded in the bus. “Piece of shit,” screams one of the guys outside. “You’re a jerk,” echoes a comrade. Another strikes the windshield repeatedly, threatening the driver (with violence). A warning that in a few minutes will become reality (watch the shocking video).
“We’ll beat your face.” So the migrants attacked the bus driver.
“They said everything to me.” GP said. “They were throwing stones against the windows. I was scared.” Pictures are like a stomach hit for those who have been asking for more security on public transport for years. The migrants seem uncontrollable, they wanted to reach the driver to punish him. A controller left outside the bus tries to bring everyone back to calm. To no avail. “Shut up or I’ll break your face,” one of the boys, well-dressed in a white shirt, threatens him. A few moments later the foreigners are able to break through the door. A young man who seems to be little more than twenty years old comes on board. He hits the driver and strikes him with a burst of punches in his face. GP tries to defend himself with two kicks in the aggressor’s direction. Everything is useless. The immigrant pushes him to the floor and continues to beat him without respite. “I was thinking of dying”, said GP, licking his wounds.
Only the intervention of the carabinieri, called by some passers-by, ends the brutal beating . The hospital’s response is tough: seven days of tests and treatment for the injuries reported. But it could be worse. “I’m strong,” says the driver, “but if in my place it had been he had been a fellow less strong, he would be dead now.”
GP has been working for Tep for 30 years. “Since I took the job I have never had any problems with anyone, only with foreigners. In the bus station they move from one spot to the other. It’s always the same story: they look mean at you, try to jump under the bus, they pretend that you have touched them and they pick a quarrel with you.”
The day before the aggression (two days ago) migrants had threatened the driver. Same dynamics: “They were in the middle of the road. I honked and they started to kick and throw stones. Luckily I did not have people to load and got away. Then I informed the company, asking for them to send police officers the next day for my security. But yesterday there were only two controllers, and the situation degenerated, leading to the beating.” I did not see much help from the company,” commented the driver bitterly. The Tep, for its part, tells us that “only the presence of these people seated at the stop was reported, not situations of insecurity such as to require the intervention of law enforcement.” That is why an internal investigation has been initiated to check the driver’s responsibility.
Parma, a driver attacked by a migrant
GP has an eight-year-old son. Migrants have threatened to go to his home to (beat) him. “They yelled, ‘We know where you live.’ In a week’s time, he will have to go back and drive the bus on the same route. The fear is great. “We are indignant,” cries Paolo Leporati, the regional secretary of the Orsa Transport Union. “It is not possible for workers to always have to risk their own safety.” The videos of the aggression are already in the hands of the Carabinieri, who will proceed with the investigations. Will they arrest them? “They have nothing to lose and they know that,” concludes the victim. “They said to each other: ‘They will not do anything to us’.”