Hundreds of mostly African farm labourers have marched from fields in southern Italy chanting “we are not slaves, no to exploitation” in a protest against the working conditions of tomato pickers, AFP news agency reports.
The protest came after 16 migrant workers died in two road accidents within 48 hours, highlighting the plight of farm workers around the city of Foggia in the Puglia region.
Both accidents happened when lorries transporting tomatoes crashed into vans carrying farm workers returning from their day’s work.
Their pay is as low as one euro ($1.16) for picking 100kg (221lb) of tomatoes.
The workers are sometimes recruited by people linked to the mafia, and the deaths have caused much public anger, AFP reports.
Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini visited the region on Tuesday, promising to fight the “mafia” in and around Foggia and to destroy it “street by street, town by town”, the agency reports.