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CRIME

Italy arrests 44 tied to Rome’s garbage mafia

Italian police arrested 44 people on Thursday accused of dealings with a powerful one-eyed mobster whose gang thrived on rigging Rome public contracts on everything from garbage disposal to park maintenance.

Italy arrests 44 tied to Rome's garbage mafia
Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino welcomed the arrests. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Officers cuffed local politicians from both the left and right, including regional councilor Luca Gramazio from Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, accused of serving as a go-between for corrupt businessmen and the mob.

The investigation, lead by Italy's anti-mafia police, also focused on 21 other suspects whose businesses or offices were being searched on Thursday.

The arrests were the second stage in a probe which saw one-eyed boss Massimo Carminati and 36 others, including a former mayor of Rome, arrested in December.

Police believe that as well as rigging contracts given out by municipal authorities, the mafia network also conspired to skim off cash from centres established to house asylum seekers and recently-arrived migrants.

The network, “by means of corrupt practices and collusion, assured itself numerous contracts and financing from the Lazio Region, the Rome municipality and associated businesses,” the police said in a statement.

The gang got its hooks into everything from Rome's recycling and garbage disposal, to maintenance of parks and cycling paths and bad weather response.

Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino welcomed the arrests, saying “politics in the past gave a bad example, but today… we have honest people who want to restitute quality of life and all the rights and dignity the capital deserves.”

But the raid was immediately held up by the head of Italy's anti-immigration Northern League party, Matteo Salvini, as an example of the incompetence — or worse — of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.

“Another 44 people arrested for the immigration business. Stop the departures and the boats immediately, stop the contracts right now!” he said on Facebook.

“It's nothing to do with being good-hearted, welcoming and supporting… they are thieves! Renzi and Alfano scatter illegal immigrants in the hotels of half of Italy, guess who gains?” he said.

 

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Mafia Capitale, altri 44 ARRESTI per il business degli IMMIGRATI.Fermare subito le partenze e gli sbarchi, bloccare…

Posted by Matteo Salvini on Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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EQUALITY

EU parliament slams Italy’s clampdown on same-sex couples’ rights

Members of the EU parliament on Thursday demanded that Italy's government "rescind its decision" after the country's interior ministry ordered Milan to stop registering the children of same-sex families.

EU parliament slams Italy's clampdown on same-sex couples' rights

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni came to power last year after a campaign during which she placed a strong emphasis on traditional family values.

Earlier this month, the government made moves to restrict gay parents’ rights.

Milan had been registering children of same-sex couples conceived overseas through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy, or medically assisted reproduction, which is only available to heterosexual couples.

But its centre-left mayor Beppe Sala said this had stopped after the interior ministry sent a letter insisting that the courts must decide.

READ ALSO: Milan stops recognising children born to same-sex couples

Members of the European Parliament said they feared the Milan move was “part of a broader attack against the LGBTQI+ community in Italy”.

They urged the Italian government to “immediately rescind its decision” in an amendment to a 2022 report on the rule of law in the EU put forward by Renew Europe group of centrist and liberal MEPs.

They said the “decision will inevitably lead to discrimination against not only same-sex couples, but also primarily their children”, adding it was “a direct breach of children’s rights” under a UN convention.

Sala came to Brussels to seek MEPs’ support during a session on Wednesday and Thursday.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016, but opposition from the Catholic Church meant it stopped short of granting gay couples the right to adopt.

Decisions were made on a case-by-case basis by the courts as parents took legal action, although some local authorities decided to act unilaterally, including Milan.

Family law is decided by each member state but the European Commission in December presented a proposal that would force every country in the bloc to recognise parents’ rights granted in another nation.

The plan would protect children of same-sex families travelling within the EU.

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