Italian troops have begun patrolling major cities across the country as part of the government’s promise to crackdown on crime. Some 3,000 soldiers have been deployed in a bid to protect sensitive sites which the government believes could be targets for terrorism.
These include embassies, train and metro stations, as well as detention centres to prevent a breakout of illegal immigrants. Announcing the measures last week Italy’s Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, said people wanted and had to feel more safe.
But police unions and the opposition say the move is purely a tactic to mask government cuts to the security forces budget. In the capital, Rome, the soldiers have kept a low profile after Mayor Gianni Alemanno pressed for the city centre not to be “militarised.”
Recent polls suggest Italians have never been so worried about their exposure to crime, but opinion is divided on how effective the move will be. The new measures will remain in place for six months before the government decides whether to increase or decrease the number of troops on Italian streets.