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Italian populist Salvini sparks row over counting Roma

Matteo Salvini has campaigned in the past for Roma camps to be bulldozed

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Italy's right-wing populist Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has prompted a new outcry by saying he wants a census of the Roma community that would lead to non-Italians being deported.

After a chorus of criticism he said his only aim was to protect Roma children.

Since Mr Salvini's League party came to power this month with the anti-establishment Five Star movement, he has focused heavily on immigration.

Last week he refused to allow a charity ship carrying 629 migrants into Italy.

Mr Salvini has tried to limit the number of migrants entering Italy by blocking charity ships that rescue people off the Libyan coast. The Aquarius eventually arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia at the weekend.

His remarks on Roma (Gypsies) were eventually rebutted by his fellow deputy prime minister and leader of Five Star, Luigi di Maio, who made clear that a census was unconstitutional.

SOURCE: BBC