(ANSA) - Catania, February 5 - Italians stopped for a minute's silence Monday as the funeral of a policeman killed by fans was broadcast live across the country.The flag-draped coffin of Filippo Raciti, 38, passed thousands of mourners lining the streets of Catania, the Sicilian city where he died during riots at a derby with Palermo Friday.It was greeted in a packed city cathedral by a long burst of applause and a salute from Raciti's eight-year-old son, who was wearing a policeman's uniform."May this death bring change," said his wife, Marisa Grasso.Raciti's wife and daughter stood close to Interior Minister Antonio Amato, Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri and National Police Chief Gianni De Gennaro, who wept openly. Members of the centre-right opposition also attended including former foreign minister Gianfranco Fini.In a message to De Gennaro, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called for "severe" measures to "restore normality" to stadiums. Raciti - the first policeman to die in decades of stadium violence - died from internal injuries as fans fought police with metal bars and powerful firecrackers.Soon after the news of his death, authorities suspended soccer in Italy indefinitely.
The stark reality of Sicilian life is brought home in events like the tragic death of Filippi Raciti.
Andrea Camilleri writes not only to amuse and charm, but he also wants to educate us about Italian society. I am probably guilty of enjoying his books so much that I miss their educational message.
Football is a religion in Italy, when we were staying in Spoleto, football supporters of one team [I can't recall which but InterMilan I think] drove round and round the town with flags and their car horns blaring hour after hour.