Seven people have been arrested in Sicily for an unprovoked attack in August on a group of teenage African migrants, Italian Carabinieri police said on Wednesday.
The suspects, four remanded in custody, three under house arrest were charged with assault with the aggravating circumstance of ethnic and racial hatred, a statement said.
They attacked six young Gambians and a care worker accompanying them during night-time celebrations for Ferragosto, an August 15 bank holiday, on a beach east of Palermo.
The assault continued as the migrants drove off from the beach.
Their van was followed to a nearby city, Partinico, where the assailants forced them to get out of the vehicle and attacked them again.
According to La Repubblica daily, they were hit with a stone and baseball bats, threatened with a gun, had their mobile phones stolen, and told: “Get back to your shitty country, you must die.”
Giornale di-Sicilia, another newspaper, said those arrested were aged between 28 and 71.
Two women were among them, according to the Carabinieri statement.
There has been a reported increase in racist attacks in Italy, coinciding with a toughening of government policy against irregular migrants, spearheaded by Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini.
In Partinico, there was another assault in late July, when a 19-year-old Senegalese man was showered with racist insults and beaten up.
Two men were placed under house arrest for the crime.