Emmanuel Chidi, 36, was walking with his girlfriend in the heart of the small town of Fermo on Tuesday, when they had racial abuse heaped on them by the supporter of a local football club, the Agi news agency reported. That led to an altercation and Chidi was brutally beaten on the head until he fell to the ground. He did not recover consciousness and died in hospital on Wednesday.
The death was announced a day before the annual Mondiali Antirazzisti festival near Modena in Northern Italy which attracts 5000 participants over four days of sporting and cultural activities.
A statement from organisers UISP, the Italian sport for all association and Fare members, said, “The news about the death of Emanuel Chidi falls like a boulder on the opening day of the Mondiali.
“The Italian and European climate is getting worse and leads to an aggravation of racist and violent outbursts” said Carlo Balestri, founder and head of the Mondiali Antirazzisti.
“The 5,000 participants at the Mondiali feel close to Emanuel, his family and all migrants who come to our country to escape violence, persecution and war. They have in their hearts the hope of a better life and instead they often find internment centers which resemble prisons, discrimination, fear or even death.
“From our part we will dedicate the ‘Invisible Cup’ of Mondiali 2016 to the memory of Emanuel, it is aimed at those who for various reasons would like to join us, but they cannot, as a symbol of all those migrants and asylum seekers who look to our country and to Europe with the hope of a new life, more dignified and respectful.
The mayor of Fermo commented, “As mayor of a town that is welcoming and open to integration, I feel I’m living in a nightmare.”
Chidi had been living in the area for eight months and was lodged in a shelter run by Catholic charity Caritas. His girlfriend had lost her baby after a perilous Mediterranean crossing.