Italian social reformer Danilo Dolci is leading 700 followers on a six-day march through Sicily, carrying anti-Mafia banners through Mafia strongholds on the island.
Marchers in procession; Danilo Dolci at head of marchers; placards; marchers past slum property. (NATURAL SOUND THROUGHOUT).
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Background: Italian social reformer Danilo Dolci is leading 700 followers on a six-day march through Sicily, carrying anti-Mafia banners through Mafia strongholds on the island. The aim of the march is to draw attention to the Mafia domination of Sicily and to urge government action to improve the standard of life on the island. The march got under way yesterday (Monday) and will end on Saturday in the island capital, Palermo.
The march will cover a route 90 miles (145 Kms) long and will take the marchers through Mafia strongholds on the island.
Dolci, who is 42, is campaigning for the economic development of the poverty-stricken island, for which he has worked for 15 years. During that time, Dolci has staged public meetings, written books and undergone hunger strikes to draw attention to the plight of the poor in Sicily.
Yesterday, thousands of well-wishers turned out to encourage the 700 marchers as they left Partanna accompanied by mules and carts. Their six-day journey will take them through 34 villages in an area inhabited by 350,000 people.
Placards carried by the marchers call for the speedy implementation of long-promised irrigation dams, re-afforestation plans, geological surveys, new schools, various agricultural projects -- and the exclusion of the Mafia from public life.