...this blog kills fascists...

Monday, August 04, 2008

How Do You Say 'Yikes!' In Italian?

This is unsettling:
Hundreds of soldiers have been patrolling the streets of Italian cities in a crackdown on street crime and illegal immigration.

The deployment was among measures introduced by Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right government to fulfil an electoral pledge to uphold law and order.

In Rome, some 400 troops were deployed at underground and overland rail stations and at a centre housing immigrants.

The soldiers are not expected to patrol the tourist areas of the capital, but will help guard areas that may be vulnerable to a terrorist attack, such as embassies and the Vatican.

In Milan, around 150 soldiers were stationed at the cathedral, the synagogue, train stations and consulates.

Soldiers were also deployed in Naples, Bologna and Palermo, while further troops were stationed at immigration centres to prevent escapes.

The defence ministry announced the further deployment of soldiers over coming days, reaching a total of 3,000.

In the most controversial part of the exercise, about 1,000 troops will be sent on patrol alongside the police in large Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin. The move has prompted critics to warn of the militarisation of the cities.

The deployment of soldiers is intended to free up the Carabinieri for other duties.

The government has repeatedly linked rising crime rates to illegal immigration, which last month prompted Berlusconi and his ministers to declare a national state of emergency.

The deployment of the military is the latest high-profile element in a campaign that already includes the fingerprinting those of who live in camps on the outskirts of Italy's big cities. The vast majority of such people are Roma.

The opposition criticised the move as "window dressing", warning that it could hurt the country's image abroad and even deter tourists.

But Ignazio La Russa, the defence minister and a leading figure in the formerly neofascist National Alliance, dismissed claims that the soldiers would scare tourists or residents, saying the troops could help address citizens' concerns about security.

The people most likely to be afraid, he said, were "the thieves, the rapists, the criminals".
And the scary part is, the citizens interviewed by the Guardian seem to think it's all good.

il Duce, anyone?

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