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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK
Milan police in Chinatown clash
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Chinese migrants clash with Italian police in Milan's Chinatown district
The riot broke out after a Chinese woman was given a traffic fine
Italian riot police have broken up a violent protest in Milan's Chinatown by scores of Chinese immigrants.

About 10 police officers were injured and a similar number of Chinese people received hospital treatment.

The trouble began when a Chinese woman was fined for illegally transporting goods in a private vehicle.

More than 100 Chinese shopkeepers and members of their families, many waving the national flag, massed in the street claiming racial discrimination.

Baton charge

During the unrest, which lasted until nightfall, a car was overturned and the police carried out a baton charge. The woman was arrested and later admitted to hospital.

The Chinese immigrant community in Italy has grown very rapidly during the past 10 years.

Normally, they keep a very low profile and cause little trouble to the authorities.

According to official statistics, there are about 114,000 Chinese currently living in Italy, but the true figure is probably double this number because of widespread illegal immigration.

In Milan alone, the resident Chinese population has more than doubled to about 12,000 in about 10 years. Other cities with a large Chinese community include the capital, Rome, and Prato, in Tuscany, where Chinese workers are employed in the textile dyeing industry.

In Rome and Milan wholesale distributors of goods made in China occupy entire quarters of the two cities. It was the noise and traffic caused by these businesses which sparked off the rioting in Milan.

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