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Italy's Salvini launches racist attack against 'dirty gypsy' woman: 'The bulldozer is arriving soon'

Far-right interior minister branded 'out of control' after comment against Roma community

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 03 August 2019 11:15 BST
Luxembourg foreign minister stands up against Matteo Salvini

Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to bulldoze the home of a woman he called a “dirty gypsy”.

The racist outburst on Twitter came in response to a news report which showed the woman, who lives in a Roma camp in Milan, saying Mr Salvini deserved “bullets in the head”.

Using the term "zingaraccia", which roughly translates into English as "dirty gypsy", Mr Salvini tweeted in Italian: "But is it normal for a gypsy woman in Milan to say, 'Salvini should be shot in the head?'"

"Be good, dirty gypsy, be good, for the bulldozer is arriving soon.”

The comment was widely condemned in Italy, with some critics pointing out the tweet came on the eve of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, a commemoration on 2 August to remember thousands of Romani and Sinti people murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz on that date in 1944.

“We are no longer in the field of exaggerations or provocations. I think that Salvini is now out of control,” tweeted Roberto Giachetti, a rival politician in the centre-left Democratic Party.

“He is technically unable to control himself. Being the Minister of the Interior is no small problem. Maybe someone should start worrying before it's too late.”

Responding to the criticism, Mr Salvini later said he was “going ahead” with the goal of reaching “zero Roma camps in Italy”.

The 46-year-old has a long history of discrimination towards the country’s Roma people.

Last year Mr Salvini announced there would be a “census” of the community, setting the stage for deportations of the ethnic group. He said those Roma found to have Italian nationality would “unfortunately” be allowed to stay in the country while others would be expelled.

In April, several Roma families were forced out of a social housing project in Rome after violent protests by neo-fascist groups.

Far-right protesters screamed insults and threw objects at a van as the families, including 33 children, were removed from Torre Maura, an eastern suburb of the Italian capital.

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