Photographs that depict Italian sunbathers relaxing at the beach despite the nearby presence of the bodies of two Gypsy girls who had drowned, have raised questions about Italian attitudes toward the Roma minority, The U.K. Guardian reported.
The incident took place outside of Naples on Saturday. At about 1 p.m., four Gypsy teens, who had reportedly been begging beachgoers, decided to go into the water, despite apparently not being able to swim.
The girls were hit by an unusually large wave, resulting in an attempted rescue by life-savers from a nearby beach. Two of the girls were saved. The other two, aged 14 and 16, could not be reached in time, The Guardian reported.
Following their drowning, the bodies of the two girls were dragged ashore and laid out under beach towels, The Guardian said.
But Italian media later reported that the deaths of the girls and the presence of their bodies did not stop the sunbathers from enjoying their day at the beach, as most continued with their activities.
According to The Guardian, Italy is reportedly plagued by anti-Gypsy sentiments.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica wrote, "While the lifeless bodies of the girls were still on the sand, there were those who carried on sunbathing or having lunch just a few metres away."