Hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants have been rounded-up across Italy, as part of the new right-wing government’s hard line on law and order. Nearly 400 people were taken away in an operation stretching from the north of Italy to the Campania region around Naples. Many of them are Roma people from Eastern Europe, and some face immediate deportation.
Italy’s new Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, from the anti-immigrant Northern League, is even planning emergency legislation which could see the return of border controls, despite Italy’s membership of Europe’s passport-free Schengen system.
Silvio Berlusconi swept back to power for a third time by promising to get tough on illegal immigrants, whom many Italians blame for rising crime.
But some people in the camps feel they are paying the price for the criminal ways of some of their number. “It is just not right that we all have to pay for one person who sold drugs – we have been here for 30 years,” one woman said.
Tensions are running high in Naples. One camp needed police protection after a teenage Roma girl was accused of trying to steal a baby. Angry locals attacked the camp and arsonists set fire to several caravans. No-one was reported hurt, but some Roma took the hint and left.