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Matteo Salvini. Photo: Matteo Salvini. FWM

Salvini increases security after ‘religious hate’ stabbing in Rome

Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said on Tuesday that he has demanded that security be increased following a stabbing by a migrant in Rome.

Published: April 24, 2019, 8:46 am


    A Moroccan national stabbed a man wearing a crucifix at Rome’s central Termini train station on Saturday evening. The victim, a 44-year-old Georgian national, suffered an injury to his throat.

    Rome prosecutors have accused a 37-year-old Moroccan of attempted murder over the attack, with “religious hate” cited as an “aggravating factor” in the crime.

    Salvini said he had written to Italy’s prefects and police chiefs after the attack, telling them to “increase checks and attention in places of aggregation of Islamic citizens in order to prevent any type of violence against innocent citizens”.

    Salvini, who has closed off Italian ports to humanitarian boats since a his coalition government came to power in mid-2018, says the country’s ports will remain closed even after reports that some 170 migrants are missing at sea.

    Salvini said opening the ports and ignoring laws will only encourage more Africans to leave and result in more deaths at sea. In March, the Italian Interior Ministry reported a 92 percent drop in the number of migrants arriving in Italy by sea.

    In January-March, only 571 migrants arrived in the country, down from almost 6 300 migrants in the same period last year.

    On Monday, an aide of Salvini posted a photo of the Minister holding a machine gun on Facebook, resulting in an outcry from his opponents.

    Luca Morisi posted the photo with the playful caption: “You have noticed how they do everything to throw mud at the League? The Europeans (elections) are approaching….But we are armed and equipped with helmets!”

    His political opponents immediately called for Morisi’s resignation.

    Nicola Fratoianni, left-wing MP from La Sinistra, said the image promoted violence. “He launched a threatening, dangerous message instigating possible future violence.”

    Pina Picierno, a European MEP from the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) said: “There is no war under way against the League, nor the need for it to arm itself with machine guns and helmets. Morisi should arm himself with a brain instead of a helmet.”

    Salvini has already faced similar criticism for wearing police and firefighters’ uniforms. Nicknamed “Il Capitano”, he also posed with a military-grade sniper rifle at a police convention in October.

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