A nativity scene featuring a dark-skinned Jesus, Mary and Joseph that has gone on display in a Verona courthouse has created heated debate in a city with strong links to Italy's anti-immigration Northern League party.
The nativity's appearance coincides with the League's controversial "White Christmas" operation, a two-month sweep ending on 25 December to ferret out foreigners without proper permits in Coccaglio, a small League-led town east of Milan.
The Christmas scene – featuring a dark-skinned baby Jesus dressed in a red shirt and lying in a manger– was the idea of Mario Giulio Schinaia, the chief public prosecutor in Verona. "There shouldn't be a white or black Christmas, only a merry Christmas for everyone, of every skin colour, ethnic background and nationality," he said.
The Northern League Farm Minister, Luca Zai, described the scene as "a useless act of provocation".Reuse content