Italy has launched a new security initiative designed to show it is tough on crime. Some 3,000 soliders have been deployed across the country’s major cities in a bid to protect “sensitive sites” which the government believes could be targets for terrorism. These include embassies, railway and metro stations, as well as detention centres to prevent a breakout of illegal immigrants.
But the troops are keeping a low profile in the capital, Rome, where Mayor Gianni Alemanno has pressed for the city’s historic center to be kept free for tourists. “I don’t believe it’s a deterrent,” said one commuter. “There are other ways to ensure law and order.” But another Rome resident disagreed: “It’s useful and people feel safer, however it’s important they don’t exceed their powers.”
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.