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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Sicilians defy protection racket
Woman's face is reflected in a photo of a Mafioso being arrested, on show in Rome
Mafia crime has overshadowed Italian life for decades
Shopkeepers in the Italian city of Palermo plan to rally against the "pizzo" tithe traditionally exacted by the Sicilian Mafia.

A hundred business people in the city plan to hold an open-air market for local people next Friday in a "Pizzo-free" event.

Some parts of Italy have been plagued by protection rackets for years.

The recent arrest of suspected Mafia head Bernardo Provenzano is said to have energised anti-crime campaigners.

Students in Palermo, Sicily's main city, have been leading the campaign for two years.

They have encouraged shoppers to buy from stores which refuse to co-operate with the Mafia.

In another development, Spanish police announced the arrest of a suspected top Italian Mafia financier.

Marco Rodolfo del Vento, 54, alias The Doctor, had been on the run from Italian police since 2005 when he was arrested on the resort island of Mallorca on 20 April.

Since his arrest, 13 other suspects have been seized inside Italy.


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