Attacks & mass fingerprinting of Italy’s Romany community

Gerrard Winstanley tony at
Wed Oct 22 23:40:19 BST 2008

Italy's Romany community fears attack from locals October 21, 2008, 

Romany communities in Italy say they are increasingly becoming the
target of attacks by local residents. It's claimed the Italian
government has shown a disregard for the families coming from central
Europe looking for work and in some cases, the tension has resulted in
violent clashes.

In April, after the alleged attempted abduction of an Italian child by
a teenage member of the travellers' community, the Romany encampment
near Naples was destroyed. Overnight, the 50 people living there in
squalid conditions were forced to flee. 

"Their excavators come and got rid of everything. They don't care
about us!" one man told RT.

There are 700 camps like this in Italy, predominantly on the outskirts
of Italy's largest cities.

The Italian government has called the nomads a "security emergency",
making the country's Romany community feeling even less secure.

At the moment, the government is launching a mass finger-printing
programme for the Romany population, estimated at 150,000. This step
is aimed at helping the new government's crackdown on crime - in
particular illegal immigration, which has more than doubled in the
past year. Along with other measures, the government has promised to
reduce the number of children begging for money on the streets of
major Italian cities.

Still, in spite the official stance, some Italians tend to think that
the issue is overstated.

One local man said: "There is no problem. Only the media wants to
exaggerate the situation. Only in Italy there seems to be a problem,
in other countries - no problem."

But tensions are rising. The nomads say they harm no-one and keep
themselves to themselves. They fear they may be the next targets of
angry Neapolitans - angry at rising crime, angry at rivers of rubbish
- and that they will be the scapegoats.

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