Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini is planning a 9 p.m. curfew for “ethnic shops” which attract drunks, drug dealers, and “people who raise hell” at night.
The populist-nationalist League (Lega) leader, whose popularity has surged since he joined with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) to form a eurosceptic, anti-mass migration coalition, announced the controversial policy in a Facebook address reported by Euronews.
“[There will be an amendment] for the closure by 21:00 of those little ethnic shops that in the evening become a meeting place for drunk people and drug dealers,” said the Italian leader.
Using highly charged language, he said that establishment of this sort were attracting people “who drink beer and whisky until 3 a.m. and raise hell” and “piss and shit everywhere” as well.
“It’s not polite,” he added, revealing that he lived nearby to such places himself, and that he believed they were degrading the quality of life of many Italians.
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Andrea Marcucci, a politician from the establishment left-wing Democratic Party which crumbled in the face of the populist surge during the election that put Salvini in government, complained that imposing curfews was the action of “a regime”.
Mauro Bussoni, who heads the Confesercenti retail association added that the law should not “discriminate [against] some entrepreneurs over others”, and that business operators had a “duty to respect rules” but also “the right to remain open, whether the activity is managed by a foreigner or an Italian”.
Carlo Rienzi, who heads the Codacons consumer association, agreed it was unfair to “generalise”, but conceded that action needed to be taken against businesses which had “created disorder” and “degraded” communities.
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While Salvini has pushed several nationalist policies since coming to office, such as blocking NGO ships ferrying illegal migrants from North Africa from docking in Italian ports, and reallocating funds from migrant ‘integration’ programmes to the recruitment of 10,000 extra police officers, not all of his policies fall within the bounds of traditional fiscal conservatism.
For example, he has expressed a willingness to increase support for Italians to have families, so the country is not dependent on mass migration to resolve demographic issues, and to lower the retirement age, which he believes will actually create “tens of thousands of jobs”.