ROME (AP) — An anti-mafia priest campaigner has kicked off a day of national protest against organized crime, urging Italians to resist the mob and denouncing recent threats against him as cowardly.
On the eve of Tuesday's protest, vandals scrawled graffiti in the mafia stronghold of Locri calling Don Luigi Ciotti a cop and demanding "more work, fewer cops." The graffiti was viewed as a threat to Ciotti and a challenge to the state.
Ciotti headlined the main protest Tuesday in Locri, saying he was proud to be called a cop and denouncing the anonymous threat as a "sign of a lack of courage." He praised Italy's police as professionals dedicated to protecting ordinary citizens.
Locri, in southern Reggio Calabria, is a stronghold of the 'ndrangheta mob, one of Italy's most powerful.