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Italy’s Politics Go to the Beach

“It’s a problem,” said Senator Daniela Santanchè, a member of the right-wing Brothers of Italy who owns a beach club in Tuscany. “It’s an open market. The problem is that people also buy things, which is illegal because they don’t pay taxes. At our club, we hired two security guards to make sure they don’t bother people.”

In 2017, Ms. Santanchè was photographed looking unbothered at her club, Twiga Beach, as she lounged on a beach bed and inspected the merchandise of three African peddlers.

“I look, but I don’t buy,” she told the newspaper Il Tirreno at the time. “Clear?”

Francesca Trevisan, the mayor of Scarlino, said her town, which has about five miles of beaches, some of them secluded nature reserves and others densely crowded, badly needed the Safe Beaches funds.

In late July, she said, about ten Senegalese peddlers pushed around two police officers who were loading confiscated counterfeit goods into their patrol car. Tourists intervened and called more police officers, who arrested three men.

“We cannot go on like this,” Ms. Trevisan said.

Yet it seems that is exactly what is happening.

Col. Antonio Del Gaizo, an official for the financial police, said that while some of the peddlers were independent, seeking to save money and enter the legal job market, many trafficked in counterfeit goods and operated under the control of organized crime and the Italian Mafia.

“These are people in a state of need,” Colonel Del Gaizo said. “And so they are exploited.”

On Ostia beach outside Rome, Mustafa Nguer, 30, who arrived in Italy a few years ago from Senegal, said he did not understand why politicians and the police were cracking down so hard.

Source: NYT > World News

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