Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sicily: Women vs Mafia

From Dan MacDougall @ Times Online:
A group of young women is standing up to the mafia in its Sicilian heartland by refusing to contribute towards the £130m a year it demands from businesses on the island in protection money.

Five years ago businesses banded together to fight the mob and founded Addiopizzo, meaning Goodbye Pizzo — a reference to the notorious 10% levy imposed on the entire business community by the Cosa Nostra. At first Addiopizzo’s members were forced to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals. Now the women are coming out of the shadows.

The group is preparing to ask tourists and locals alike to support those business that refuse to pay off the gangsters.

It has the support of 300 firms in and around Palermo, including hotels, bars, restaurants and even a bank. Women, who make up 60% of the membership, have proved to be among its most courageous members.

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