Florence(Italy): Thousands marched against racism in Florence after a far-right activist killed two Senegalese vendors in a shooting spree that shocked Italy and ignited a row over immigration.
"We want today to be the dawn of a new hope so that our brothers did not die in vain," said Pape Diaw, a spokesman for the Senegalese community on Saturday.
"We really have to work for peaceful coexistence and respect of people but it has to be a real struggle, not just a facade," he told reporters.
Around 10,000 people took part in the demonstration, according to police, while organisers put the number at some 12,000. Participants carried Senegalese flags and placards including one that read: "Racism? Not in my name."
"Our brothers were martyred. Obviously not martyrs of war but martyrs since they were killed while they were working for their daily bread," Florence imam Izzedin Elzir told the crowd in the historic Santa Maria Novella square.
The city is still reeling after Gianluca Casseri, a Holocaust denier and author of fantasy novels, went on the rampage on Tuesday with a Magnum revolver at two local markets including the tourist-heavy San Lorenzo in the centre.
Two Senegalese street vendors were killed and another three wounded before the 50-year-old killed himself when police began closing in on him.
Senegalese authorities have called for a full inquiry into the killings.
Dozens of Senegalese immigrants and white Florence residents gathered ahead of the protest at the Dalmazia Square market where the spree began, reading passages from the Koran and leaving flowers and messages at a street shrine.
A large makeshift sign at the square in honour of the two victims -- Samb Modou, 40, and Diop Mor, 54 -- read simply "Modou and Mor: Two of Us."
After a Muslim rite on Monday, their bodies will be flown back to Senegal the following day.