Police and migrants’, the fever in Verona

It’s still unclear what actually provoked some policemen in Verona who loaded themselves in three cars and invaded an immigrant bar in Borgo Roma, few kilometers from the Verona city center. Popularly known as Mr G, the Nigerian man who runs the bar recounts a bit of the action.

“It was about 11 pm; everywhere was peaceful in a joyous mood when the police suddenly arrived in three cars”.

Armed with guns and the authority to protect innocent people and properties, the men of the police force certainly do know what to do and this was what it meant last night (Friday 22 April 2011). They entered a bar, field with migrants, all having fun and they asked:

“What are you people doing here?”

If there was trouble, it could have been understood, but in a situation where there was none, what then brought the police?

“Some of my clients were terrified”, the man who runs the bar lamented. It was his first day in the bar, after been made to close the one he was operating in Gosoline, a nearby quarter in the city.

Seeing that music was playing, the police men demanded to see the license to play the music.

“In the confusion,” Mr G continued, “we could not immediately find the license and when we later did and presented it to them they said it was too late and that we have to wait for our fine.”

Do you want to hear the question in Mr. G’s mind; the minds of many Africans in Verona who sometime want to walk to an African bar and have a beer, with the felling that (it’s a home away from home)? It’s all here summed up:
“What have I done?”

“His Excellency” was the name of his bar in Golosine and many people will attest to the fact that some Nigerians never really respected the name, “Excellency”. A few of them were just too famous with their ordeals, thereby marrying Mr. G to the police in Verona. They were as frequent in the bar as the clients.

After taken two bottles of Heineken, the Nigerian boys could break the third bottle on the head of their friend. Anyone who is kind enough to investigate would soon find out the shameful cause of the incident – probably for some petty businesses or just to please a girlfriend.

This shame is no longer new. However, this did not happen in his Excellency bar (now closed) all the time. Besides, an Italian bar owner will never be hanged because two wayward individuals have come into his bar to mess-up themselves.

So if the men in the police want to go after those who disturb the public peace, it’s fine. Nobody will protest that, but it does not cover the intimidation of innocent people who have gone to have a beer in a bar, and just because it happens to be an African or a Nigerian bar.


Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

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