Italy's far-right anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has called for a census of the country's Roma community with the intention of potentially expelling those without citizenship, France 24 reports. "As for the Italian Roma, unfortunately one has to keep them at home," Salvini said in comments to a local television station in Northern Italy.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte slammed Salvini's remarks as going "too far" and the leader of the populist, Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, said such a census would be "unconstitutional," The Guardian reports. "The interior minister does not seem to know that a census on the basis of ethnicity is not permitted by the law," said Carlo Stasolla, the president of the Associazione 21 Luglio, which supports Roma rights.
Salvini described the count and subsequent expulsion of non-Italian Roma as being the "answer to the Roma question." Up to 180,000 Roma live in Italy, with about 43 percent holding Italian citizenship.
"We … recall that Italian Roma have been present in our country for at least half a century and sometimes they are 'more Italian' than many of our fellow citizens," said Stasolla. Jeva Lange