The massacre of immigrant workers of August 1893 at Aigues-Mortes, in South France, aroused fierce protest in many an Italian city, with popular demonstrations occasionally turning into acts of violence: the worst disorders occurred in Rome against the French embassy and in Naples. The police authorities were taken by surprise and could not withstand mass unrest by proper measures. Since, at that time, the police forces were rather small in number (counting some 5.000 men in the whole country), the situation often required the resort to the army in the maintenance of public order. The A. describes the measures taken by the Rome and Naples Prefects who were in charge of that job. The committees of inquiry passed negative judgements on their conducts and the government punished both high officials for having underestimated the danger and badly used the forces at their disposal for the repression of the riots. As an appendix, the study carries the Royal Decree Jan. 5th 1899 which regulates the resort to troops in police service far more precisely than ever before.
Keywords: 19th century Italy, public order, R.D. January 5th 1899, Prefects, mass disorders, Aigues-Mortes