An Italian-born Nigerian athlete Daisy Osakue, an Italian-born Nigerian athlete, on Monday, July 30, 2018, was attacked with eggs in an incident that has kicked up a racism row in Italy.
Osakue, born in Turin to Nigerian parents, was struck in her left eye when unknown assailants hurled an egg at her face from a car at Moncalieri, near Turin.
The discus thrower landed in Turin’s Oftalmico eye hospital with an injured cornea but is expected to make a full recovery before next month’s European Athletics Championships in Germany.
According to a report by The New York Times, Daisy Osakue is confident the attack was racially-motivated amid a spate of similar attacks on people of colour.
“I don’t want to play the sexism or racism card, but people should be able to go out without someone attacking you out of the blue, They are just cowards,” she said.
Police reacts to the Attack
Since the attack occured early on Monday, the European nation’s far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has been accused of promoting hate against immigrants with his anti-immigration actions.
Former center-left prime minister, Matteo Renzi, took to his Twitter account (@matteorenzi) to blame the government for the racially-motivated attack.
“Daisy Osakue. She’s an Italian champion. Yesterday she was savagely beaten up by racist scum. Attacks against people of different skin color are an emergency. Now it is evidence, that no one can deny, especially if it sits in the government.”
Many Italian journalists and sports personalities have also publicly voiced their support for Osakue and condemned the motive behind the attack, even though local police are unsure about any racial motives behind the attack as white locals have also been targeted by the assailants.
The New York Times reported that the United Nations has also reacted to the attack, with the southern European chief of the UN refugee agency, Felipe Camargo, expressing how worrisome it is.
“We can not tolerate this escalation of indiscriminate violence, which reveals an alarming racial matrix,” he said.
Salvini has been defiant in the wake of the heat from the Osakue attack, using the opportunity to attack the left’s immigration policies.
“Is there a racism emergency in Italy? Don’t be stupid. I point out that over the last three days alone the police have arrested 95 migrants while 414 others were reported to prosecutors,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“The mass immigration permitted by the left in recent years has not helped, which is why I’m working to stop human traffickers and illegal immigrants,” he concluded.
He also condemned the attack on Osakue and expressed his wish to “meet her and see her compete as soon as possible”.
“Every attack should be punished and condemned. I’ll always be at the side of those who suffer violence,” he said.
Salvini has been constantly criticised for his crackdown on illegal immigration that has included closing Italian ports to shut out migrant rescue boats.