Thursday, July 3, 2008

Italy starts mass fingerprinting of Roma

It seems incredible that something like this would happen in modern Europe, but it's happening. I suppose the brown triangles are the next thing in line...
Fingerprint the lot of them: the idea had the satisfying smack of firm government. Now the Italian government was doing something tough; something long overdue.

The Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, a leader of the rabble-rousing Northern League – close allies of Silvio Berlusconi on the government benches – has explained his next step in his assault on the "emergenza di sicurezza", the "security emergency": fingerprinting all Gypsies.

It was the only way, he told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, for Italy to guarantee "to those who have the right to remain here, the possibility of living in decent conditions." For this purpose the Roma – those with Italian nationality and those without, EU citizens and those from outside the Community – will all have their fingerprints taken. And the rule will even apply to Gypsy children – for reasons that to many of Mr Maroni's supporters must have sounded obvious: "to avoid phenomena," as he put it, "such as begging". The new measures, he said, were indispensable "in order to expel those who do not have the right to stay in Italy".

From the Independent. The Globe also covered the story here; while less comprehensive, this story is instructive for the comments left by some readers, which have to be seen to be believed. It's interesting that the comments weren't removed; somehow I doubt that similar comments about other Holocaust victims would have been tolerated.

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