Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini vows Italy will not be ‘Europe’s refugee camp’
Italy’s populist leader Matteo Salvini has ordered regional officials to prepare a mass “eviction plan” to shut down the country’s illegal migrant camps.
Italian Interior Minister Salvini has instructed officials to draft “reports on the presence of Roma, Sinti, and Camminanti settlements” in their respective areas within two weeks.
“The aim is to verify the presence of illegal camps to draw up an eviction plan,” according to a statement from the Interior Ministry.
According to the Council of Europe, there are between 120,000 and 180,000 Roma, Sinti and Caminanti in Italy, AFP Rome reports.
The Sinti are traditionally from the west and central Europe, while Roma has origins in the east and southeast of the continent.
The Caminanti is the smallest group, at about three percent.
Many in the groups are roaming non-citizens living in temporary refugee camps across Italy.
Salvini sparked controversy last year with his call for a new census of Roma, and for all non-Italians among them to be expelled from the country.
In the past, Salvini has pledged that he will have “zero tolerance” for anyone who illegally occupies abandoned buildings.
Salvini has also insisted that Italy will no longer be “Europe’s refugee camp”.
So far, he seems to be keeping good on his promises.
And the people of Italy have thanked him for staying true to his word with their votes.
Since being elected as the Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in 2018, support for Salvini and his Lega party has surged considerably.
Lega fared so well in this year’s European Parliament elections that it’s now one of the largest single parties in the entire European Parliament.
In March, Salvini continued his hardline approach to unwanted migrants in his country by deporting over 1,500 from a refugee camp in Reggio before bulldozing the site.
Italian police removed around 1,592 migrants from the camp before flattening the shantytown where they were living.
The refugees who occupied the camp had continually evoked the ire of Italian citizens across the nation.
The government eventually intervened following a series of recent incidents, including three deaths.
“They preferred to stay in the shanty towns, just abuse, and illegality,” nationalist Salvini said, explaining that the government had attempted to offer other housing to the migrants, which was refused.
Mr. Salvini said the elimination of the migrant camp “finally erased one of the most shameful slums in Italy, where degradation, lawlessness, and exploitation proliferated.”