A Nigerian athlete was wounded in the eye when an egg was hurled at her Monday, the latest of at least nine attacks since Italy’s anti-migrant government took power, that is being investigated as possible acts of racism.
Asylum-seekers, legal immigrants and others who aren’t ethnic Italians are among the people injured since early June. They include a 13-month-old Roma girl who was shot while she was in her mother’s arms on a Rome street and left partially paralyzed.
The egg thrown Monday hit discus thrower, Daisy Osakue, who was born in Italy to Nigerian immigrant parents. Osakue holds Italian citizenship and was expected to compete for Italy in the European Athletics Championships next week.
Emerging from a clinic with a bandage over her left eye, Osakue said she thinks she was mistaken for one of the African prostitutes who often work the street on the outskirts of Turin she was crossing.
The athlete, who is also a sprinter and hurdler, said she saw a car speeding toward her while she was in a crosswalk and dashed to the sidewalk to avoid the vehicle. She recalled feeling something strike her eye and falling forward.
“I’m sorry to say it, but I think we’re dealing with racism,” Osakue, who currently trains and studies criminal justice in the U.S. state of Texas, told Italian TV.
Her ability to compete in the track-and-field championships is uncertain because eggshell fragments injured her cornea. Police were investigating to determine if it was a racially motivated attack.