Ed Vulliamy, in The Observer:
Within 17 days, another six people had been killed across the city, some murders so savage as to defy the imagination. A 23-year-old woman was strangled to death in a church by the sacristan, from Sri Lanka, while trying to light a candle to the Madonna – her corpse hidden behind a pulpit while Mass continued over two days. Next day, a renowned Lombard painter was stabbed to death by a youth from Morocco, whom he had admitted into his home. A Pakistani man was knifed to death in the street and an entire family – father, mother and son – was ritually tortured and executed, the woman and child having their throats cut in front of the father who was left to die slowly from a slash to his own throat.
Brescia was cast into, and remains in, a state of stupefaction; a vortex swirls around the charged themes of immigration, racism and organised crime; political leaders turn up the volume while demonstrators take to the streets. But the alarm bells ring beyond the ancient walls of Brescia.
The themes of immigration and integration – or lack of integration – are coming to dominate the lexicon of electoral politics across Europe, along with the advance of organised crime, and Brescia’s bloody summer is a distillation of that debate – both on the right, which has seized on the violence to try to connect immigration with crime, and on the left, as Brescia’s mayor endeavours to usher in a new approach to immigration and identity.