Security


Italy: Immigrants begin street patrols in northern city




Padua, 27 Feb. (AKI) - Immigrants in the northern city of Padua were due late on Friday to begin street patrols, offering their own response to a recent wave of violent crime including rapes allegedly committed by immigrants against Italian women.

The patrols are the initiative of Egyptian-born journalist Ahmed Mohamed and the first ones were due to set off from the headquarters of local La9 TV station and head for Padova's high-immigrant Stanga district.

Friday's patrol was due to be led by representatives from the local Romanian, Bulgarian and Moroccan associations. Many of the rapes and other violent crimes against women that have recently shocked Italy have allegedly been committed by Romanians and Moroccans.

"It should be known that foreigners want the government to show zero tolerance to illegal immigrants and those who commit crimes - they damage the reputation of those of us who live respectably," Mohamed told Adnkronos International (AKI).

"We are among immigrants who want more security and more of a sense of identity. We don't just want rights but also a sense of duty towards our host country," he added.

"Security must be guaranteed to all and crime does not have a particular skin colour. For this reason we want more safety on the streets and more legality," Mohamed concluded.

In an tough emergency security decree issued last Friday, the conservative Italian government authorised unarmed patrols of 'concerned citizens'. The controversial measure has stoked fears among the opposition that it will encourage gangs of vigilantes to roam Italy's streets.

The emergency decree also provides for a mandatory life sentence for the rape of minors or attacks where the victim is murdered. It allows illegal immigrants to be kept in preventative custody for up to six months instead of two months previously.


 

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