Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro isn’t taking any chances when it comes to protecting The Floating City from radical Islamic terror.
The controversial mayor has ordered Venice police to shoot on sight anyone who shouts “Allahu Akbar” in public and has reportedly ordered permanent sniper nests to be stationed around the city’s famed St. Mark’s Square.
“Anyone who shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’ in St Mark’s Square can expect to be gunned down by snipers within four paces,” Brugnaro said during a speech this week. “We need to increase our security when it comes to terrorism.”
“We had four would-be terrorists arrested in Venice a few months ago who wanted to blow up the Rialto bridge,” he explained. “They said they wanted to go and meet Allah, so we will send them straight to Allah without having to throw them off the bridge — we will just shoot them.”
“We keep our guard up,” he told journalists on Tuesday. “If anyone runs into St Mark’s Square shouting ‘Allahu akbar,’ we will take him down. A year ago I said after four steps, now after three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe sparemo’ [We will shoot him].”
Brugnaro also responded directly to liberal critics of the new policy.
“I have never been politically correct,” Brugnaro said. “In fact, I am politically incorrect, and that’s why we also need a naval blockade against people coming into Italy from north Africa.”
Brugnaro and many of his fellow Italians have become increasingly frustrated with the European Union’s refusal to do anything to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean or to contain the threat of radical Islamic terror. Earlier this summer the Italian officials took it upon themselves to pressure Libya and helped retrain its coast guard in order to prevent migrant crossings at the source.
“Governing migrant flow is very hard, but not impossible,” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti told reporters in Rome last week. “We are still in the tunnel, and the tunnel is very long, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know if I’m too optimistic.”
In at least one case, local desperation to contain the crisis has resulted in extra-governmental action.
An armed militia group has established itself in Sabratha, the Libyan port of departure for most of the migrants seeking entry into Europe, and works to prevent migrants from departing the country, according to several reports this week.
The vigilante group “works on the ground, the beach, to prevent the migrants leaving on boats towards Italy,” an unidentified “civil-society organizer” in the city told Reuters. The anonymous source added that the group was composed of several hundred “civilians, policemen, army figures.” A second source told Reuters that the group was established by a “former Mafia boss.”
The harsh measures taken both to tackle the migrant crisis and to protect Italians from radical Islamic terror appear to be relatively popular in the country, which continues to suffer under the presence of mass numbers of migrants.
On Thursday, migrants rioted in Rome after police attempted to remove them from a building they had been occupying illegally. Officers met violent resistance — one migrant even threw what appeared to be a propane tank at police. Eventually police brought in water cannons to disperse the violent crowd. At least two were arrested.
(photo credit, homepage images: Rob Lee, Flickr / Alvyspera; photo credit, article images: Benh LIEU SONG / Alvyspera)