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Italian police arrested a local man in connection with the death of a Nigerian street vendor at a beach resort in Italy, whose brutal murder set off outrage this week as the country prepares for an election that anti-immigrant hardliners have been predicted to win, the Associated Press reported.

Filippo Claudio Giuseppe Ferlazzo, 32, was arrested within minutes of the alleged robbery and fatal beating of Alika Ogorchukwu in the beach town of Civitanova Marche over the weekend, as bystanders watched and filmed the attack.

According to police, the suspect attacked the seller in response to 39-year-old Ogorchukwu’s “insistent” pleas for money from Ferlazzo and his female companion.

Ferlazzo’s lawyer said her client had expressed his apology to the victim’s family, adding that “there was no racial element” involved in the assault.

But the case prompted anger from Ogorchukwu’s family and Italy’s Nigerian community, who hit the streets in protest over the weekend. More protests are expected this week.

Ogorchukwu’s death took place as Italian parties campaign for the Sept. 25 snap elections prompted by the shock resignation of prime minister Mario Draghi. Opinion polls project that a right-wing alliance of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, the anti-immigrant League and the more moderate Forza Italia is set to win, according to Reuters.

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