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Matteo Salvini with Lucia Borgonzoni. Twitter

Salvini: No presumption of innocence for drug dealers

Opposition League leader Matteo Salvini said he would not uphold the presumption of innocence for drug-related crimes.

Published: January 26, 2020, 7:47 am

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    On Friday, following his heavily publicized anti-drug campaign in the Emilian capital Bologna, Salvini spoke to public broadcaster Rai3’s Agorà programme. The anti-immigration former interior minister said: “I am not a guarantist against drugs, it is death”.

    Salvini rang the doorbell of a Tunisian family in Bologna in the presence of journalists and camera crews earlier this week, asking if a drug pusher was living there.

    “If this young man will not be deemed a drug pusher he will have my apologies”, said Salvini who was led to the flat by a local mother of a dead addict who told him a pusher allegedly lived there. “Drugs are sold in that building – full stop”.

    “I don’t go arrest people. But I am happy that Italy knows there is drug trafficking there”.

    In response, Tunisia’s ambassador to Italy on Wednesday said Salvini was guilty of “deplorable provocation”. Ambassador Moez Sinaoui told ANSA he had written to Senate Speaker Maria Elisebetta Casellati to complain about Senator Salvini’s “regrettable” behavior, which he said had shown “a lack of respect for the private abode of a Tunisian family” and had been “divulged in an ostentatious way to public opinion”.

    Salvini has been campaigning heavily in Emilia-Romagna, the region around Bologna which elects a new government and governor on Sunday. Currently in Emilia-Romagna opinion polls, the Democratic Party’s incumbent governor Stefano Bonaccini is slightly ahead of the center-right candidate, League party member Lucia Borgonzoni.

    He tweeted a video of an asylum seeker kicking cars, while dryly remarking that this was the result of open ports.

    More threats and insults were meanwhile directed against young League militants this past week: “Fascist of shit, racists!” After League members had set up an information gazebo in the center of Florence, two militants of the League were attacked and insulted by some activists of the CPA social center.

    “Suddenly a small group of four or five young people linked to antagonistic circles arrived and started insulting and threatening our boys,” said Daniele Belotti, commissioner of the League in Tuscany.

    The police intervened immediately and blocked the attackers, said Belotti, explaining that two police vans in riot gear also arrived at the site. And so, to avoid further attacks, law enforcement officers moved the gazebo “to a safer place”.

    According to information, the CPA activists, heading for a demonstration in favor of Kurdish people in the city, accidentally crossed paths with the Northern League gazebo.

    The youth coordinator, Manfredi Ruggiero, and a 17-year-old student were in the gazebo. He said they weren’t hurting anyone, they just distributed flyers and for that they were threatened and insulted.

    “I can only thank the police, although once again I shudder from the lack of democratic culture that Left-wing extremists in this country have,” he said.

    “These are constant and repetitive episodes. Very often here in Tuscany the League members are victims of attacks. There have been several assaults in the last two months,” according to Belotti.

    Regional councilor Jacopo Alberti, denounced the attack. “Attacking two boys who exercise their right to free speech is uncivilized and undemocratic. He said he would introduce “a motion in the regional council to ask for the closure of social centers, primarily abusive ones and outside all legality, useless places that only feed hatred”.

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