Genoa bridge collapse: thousands attend state funeral for victims


About 3,000 people gathered in Genoa on Saturday for the state funeral for those killed in the collapse of the Morandi bridge.

Rescue workers arriving at the ceremony were given a sustained round of applause, as the death toll rose to 41 after a couple from Turin and their nine-year old daughter were found beneath the rubble.

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Eighteen coffins were lined up in a hall of the Fiera del Mare exhibition centre. The families of four young victims from Torre del Greco, near Naples, boycotted the state funeral as anger grows over a tragedy that many blame on the government.

“It’s the state that caused this, the catwalk of politicians has been shameful,” said Nunzia, the mother of Gerardo Esposito, 26. Gerardo died alongside Giovanni Battiloro, 29, Matteo Bertonati, 26 and Antonio Stanzione, 29. The group, who had been on their way to Barcelona, were buried in their hometown on Friday. Another victim was also buried on Friday in a town near Genoa.

The state funeral was conducted by the archbishop of Genoa, Angelo Bagnasco, and attended by Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and deputy prime ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini.

Di Maio and Salvini were cheered as they arrived, while Maurizio Martina, the secretary of the former ruling Democratic party, who arrived earlier in the morning, was jeered by some of the crowd.

Mattarella, who had visited the site earlier, hugged the families of victims. Bagnasco told mourners that Pope Francis was praying for the dead and those suffering, and that he hadoffered words of comfort in a phone call on Friday evening.

In his homily, Bagnasco said: “The collapse of the Morandi bridge over the Polcevera stream has slashed the heart of Genoa, and the wound is profound.”

Flowers and photos of the victims – the youngest aged eight – decorated the coffins. Shops and businesses across the city were closed as Italy marked a national day of mourning.

Football players from the Genoa and Sampdoria teams also attended the ceremony.


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