Published on : Saturday, December 23, 2017
With the aim to “protect urban decorum and livability”, the mayor of Como, a city in the northern Italian province of Lombardy, has passed a controversial law banning begging and camping in the city centre.
Those in contravention of the decree face a fine ranging between €50 to €300 and are responsible for “restoring the state of the premises at their own expense”.
According to the officials, this decree has been passed following the rapid increase in the number of beggars and the homeless. These problems become more apparent during the Christmas holiday season when more number of tourists comes to the city. Como is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Lake Como and the Alps.
Mario Landriscina, the city’s recently elected centre-right mayor said he had “chosen an administrative tool already adopted in other cities”.
However, not everyone is happy with the new decision calling the ban negative and acceptable. This is a step forward towards ‘criminalising the poor’. “Too many times marginalised people have been pushed into the outskirt of the cities, where it is more and more difficult for them to survive”, said Virginio Colmegna, president of the Casa Della Carità Foundation in Milan. They feel that the Como ban will not solve anything as poverty is not a street cleaning problem.
However, Como is not the first place to ban beggars off the street. In 2016, the mayor of coastal town Bordighera, close to the French border also issued similar law where giving money to beggars an offence punishable by a fine.