Italy’s Deputy PM Salvini Called For ‘mass Cleansing, Street By Street, Quarter By Quarter’, Newly Resurfaced Footage Reveals

Minister’s comments recirculate after leader of far-right League party announces ‘census’ of Roma community

Footage has re-emerged of Italy’s new inte­ri­or min­is­ter call­ing for a “mass cleans­ing” of migrants from “entire parts” of the coun­try. Matteo Salvini’s com­ments are being shared on social media after he announced a “cen­sus” of the country’s Roma com­mu­ni­ty, set­ting the stage for depor­ta­tions of the eth­nic group. “We need a mass cleans­ing, street by street, piaz­za by piaz­za, neigh­bour­hood by neigh­bour­hood,” Mr Salvini, who is also Italy’s deputy prime min­is­ter, said in an inter­view last year. “We need to be tough because there are entire parts of our cities, entire parts of Italy, that are out of con­trol.”

During the same inter­view, the 45-year-old sug­gest­ed Italy could adopt poli­cies on immi­gra­tion sim­i­lar to those of Donald Trump in the US.

Italy news: Matteo Salvini vows to ‘send home’ around 500,000 undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants

Earlier this week, Mr Salvini said those Roma found to have Italian nation­al­i­ty would “unfor­tu­nate­ly” be allowed to stay in the coun­try while oth­ers would be expelled. The new anti-Roma pol­i­cy is one of the first acts of Mr Salvini’s inte­ri­or min­istry; his par­ty formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment at the start of June with the anti-estab­lish­ment Eurosceptic Five Star Movement.

I’ve asked the min­istry to pre­pare a dossier on the Roma ques­tion in Italy,” the min­is­ter told broad­cast­er TeleLombardia. He added that the dossier would involve a “cen­sus of Roma in Italy” which would “see who, how, how many”. He added: “Unfortunately, you need to keep Italian Roma in Italy.”The coun­try is esti­mat­ed to be home to between 100,000 and 180,000 Roma.

On Wednesday, Mr Salvini met with Austrian pop­ulist lead­ers in Rome, where they pledged to increase pro­tec­tion of Europe’s south­ern bor­der from immi­gra­tion.

It is a his­toric moment because Europe has nev­er had the pos­si­bil­i­ty to change like in these days. We think it can change for the bet­ter on the top­ics of immi­gra­tion, secu­ri­ty and the fight against ter­ror­ism. Finally there is a deci­sion to pro­tect the exte­ri­or bor­der,” he said.

Mr Salvini’s move against the Roma com­mu­ni­ty drew con­dem­na­tion from rights groups and oppo­si­tion politi­cians. “The way is short from a cen­sus to a con­cen­tra­tion camp. Salvini appar­ent­ly decid­ed to cel­e­brate the 80th anniver­sary of the racial laws,” Chiara Gribaudo, a deputy from the cen­tre-left Democratic Party said, ref­er­enc­ing the Mussolini era. Carlo Stasolla, pres­i­dent of Associazione 21 Luglio, a group that cam­paigns for Roma rights, said: “The inte­ri­or min­is­ter does not seem to know that a cen­sus on the basis of eth­nic­i­ty is not per­mit­ted by law.”
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