Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of the Lega Nord, Mr Matteo Salvini, has used a rally to criticize his southern neighbor France for their handling of the yellow vests protests and urged French President Macron to focus on France rather than trying to tell the world what to do.
Mr Salvini claimed that the recent unrest in France illustrates the need for the EU to adopt economic policies that will stimulate growth and blames austerity on the anger among the mostly rural population that could be seen protesting in Paris and other major French cities.
The rightwing leader made his comments during a meeting of his League party in Rome, where he was cheered on by large crowds. Mr Salvini asked his fans to respect a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of Friday’s nightclub stampede (see our related coverage).
Related coverage: Italy – 6 Dead, 35 Injured At Ancona Rap Concert Stampede (Video)
"Look at the images coming from France, or the images we remember from Greece,” Mr Salvini said, “look at the economic crisis that even powerful Germany, Spain and other countries are suffering. The yellow vests here in this square symbolise public order, in Paris they protest. Violence is never justified, but those who sow poverty, reap protests."
The French president had during the summer criticized Mr Salvini’s government for their harsh handling of the immigrants from Africa trying to reach Italian ports. Under Mr Salvini, boats had been turned away and Spain became the newest European top receiver of illegal immigration.
“History will probably show that if (Macron) had focused more on the French and less on Salvini and Italy, he would have a few less problems today,” Mr Salvini said “Macron reduced taxes for the very well-off and increased them for those less well off.”
Salvini from thereon left to visit the Ancona nightclub where six people died in a stampede provoked by a man spraying tear gas into the club. Italy’s Interior Minister declared that the issue of overcrowding would be central to investigations, amid reports a rap concert by an Italian pop star at the venue had been oversold.
Mr Salvini stated: “You can’t die like this, at 15, a thought and prayer for the six dead overnight in the Marche region, and hope for the 13 seriously injured in hospital.” He also pledged to “find those responsible for these six broken lives, who due to malice, stupidity or greed turned a party into a tragedy”.
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