Populist Italian Senator Matteo Salvini has offered to pay the fine of a man who was caught breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by kissing his girlfriend on the street.
Salvini, who leads the League (Lega) party, offered to pay the fine of 20-year-old Francesco Barducci who was caught kissing his girlfriend by police in the town of Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany.
Barducci told his story on the television programme Quarta Repubblica earlier this week and Salvini, who was also a guest on the programme, expressed solidarity with the young man, Il Giornale reports.
Populist Senator Matteo Salvini’s League, along with their allies Forza Italia, has called on the Italian government to suspend taxes in areas under lockdown to save local businesses. https://t.co/O3eXgg1KLd
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“We had secluded ourselves to avoid the crowd, and since there was no one around, I wanted to kiss my girlfriend. My friend, who was smoking, immortalised the moment with a photo,” Barducci said.
“They gave us a fine. I’m unemployed because I worked part-time and I’ve been laid off. With the new [lockdown measures], department stores are closed. They fined me 400 euros,” he added.
Salvini then stated: “If the mayor doesn’t lift the fine, we’ll take care of it.”
The senator added that he did not want half of those fined across Italy writing to him to pay their penalties, but that because this case was so “surreal” the punishment should be dropped.
The case comes just months after another couple, a 40-year-old Italian man and his Polish fiancée, were handed a fine of 400 euros for kissing on the streets of Milan.
Covid Police: Couple Fined Hundreds for Kissing Outside https://t.co/zHbyNJ0qxR
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While the couple told the police they lived together, which would make them exempt from the fine, they could not produce identification showing that they lived at the same address.
Several regions of Italy have imposed “red zone” lockdown measures which have closed all so-called non-essential businesses and limited travel. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s left-wing government also imposed a nationwide curfew.
As the number of daily new cases and deaths continues to increase, experts say a national lockdown could be on the horizon.