Hate speech and literature in Italy

03 October 2000

Around August 23, 2000, the Rome branch of the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance - Italy's neo-fascist party) distributed fliers protesting the authorised camp for "nomads" located in Rome's 15th district on the northeast periphery of the city. The fliers state that "Roma from both the Muratella camp and Casilino 700 are not only of different ethnic groups, they are at war amongst themselves." The last paragraph of the flier included anti-Romani statements and alleged that Roma steal daily from Italians and tourists in Rome.

On May 17, 2000, Mr Paolo Frigerio, mayor of the town of Cernusco sul Naviglio, in the province of Milan, publicly announced that he would pay five million Italian lire (approximately 2500 euros) of public local government money to any farmer willing to spray manure on an area where a group of Roma were temporarily residing in camper vans in the town. According to print press and televised media reports, he said that "a bath of manure is the only way to even the score with the Gypsies, an act of justice equal to the manure they leave us when they move on."

The Lega Nord (Northern League), a prominent political party in Italy, frequently uses racist and anti-Romani language in public statements. Mr Umberto Bossi, leader of the Lega Nord, distributed fliers during the campaign for recent regional elections that stated, "If you don't want Gypsies, Moroccans and delinquents in your house, be the master of your own home in a liveable city and vote Lega Nord." In the town of Voghera, centre-right candidate Aurelio Torriani distributed fliers intended to discredit centre-left candidate Antonella Dagradi with the slogan: "The Gypsies will certainly vote for Antonella Dagradi. Do you want to do the same?" Lega Nord supporters recited what they termed the "Gypsy Prayer" at a rally led by Lega Nord Member of Parliament Mario Borghezio in the same town: "Give us a million a month, the city doesn't have other expenses, put us at the top of the list for a house, because we are nomads, but we are sticking around; but we wouldn't want to be gassed by angry Voghero inhabitants." In regional elections on April 16, 2000, the centre-right and extreme right, including the Lega Nord, garnered a majority. The human rights situation of Roma in Italy is the subject of a forthcoming country report by the ERRC.

(ERRC, Il Manifesto, La Repubblica)


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