Italian Locals Call for Closure of ‘Ethnic Clubs’ Linked to Drugs, Prostitution, and Violence

Refugees and asylum seekers wait after being displaced from a palace in the center of Rome on August 23, 2017. The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) voiced 'grave concern' over the eviction of 800 people from a Rome building squatted mainly by asylum seekers and refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The …

Locals in the Italian city of Perugia have called for the government to close “ethnic clubs” in their neighbourhood after claims that they were linked to violence, drugs, and prostitution.

Residents of Fontivegge and other nearby neighbourhoods have accused the clubs of being hubs for criminal activity, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“It has nothing to do with racism,” one local, who declined to be named, said.

“Go and see what they do next to the ethnic clubs, come back here in the evening, especially on Sundays, and you will understand why Salvini is right,” they added.

Another resident, Giulietto Albioni, said: “With the arrival of non-EU citizens in this area, African markets, afro pubs, and other clubs were born.”

“Behind them is always the traffic of drugs,” Mr Albioni added.

The areas around the ethnic clubs have also seen a marked rise in violence according to Silvio Meli who lives only a short distance from an “Afropub” which he said had made living in the area difficult due to constant fights, late night drinking, and noise that made it “impossible to sleep”.

Il Giornale investigated the Afropub and found the area full of syringes and broken glass. The paper claimed that they went to the pub at 9 pm earlier this month and waited only three minutes until who they described as an migrant male offered them drugs.

Andrea Romizi, mayor of Perugia, went on to revoke the Afropub’s licence only days after the investigation.

The investigation comes after Italian populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had suggested that ethnic shops should be forced to close no later than 9 pm saying the shops attracted migrants “who drink beer and whisky until 3 am and raise hell”.

The comments were met with sharp criticism from left-wing politicians such as Democratic Party member Andrea Marcucci who called the policy an act of “a regime”.

Foreign-born criminal suspects have greatly increased in recent years in Italy to the point that nearly one in three criminal suspects comes from a foreign background, while foreigners make up only eight percent of the total Italian population.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.