Italy Plan to Fingerprint Gypsies Under Fire
Measure against ethnic minority decried as racist
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 12:31 PM CDT
The savage, fatal beating of an Giovanna Reggiani, wife of a top navy commander, near a Gypsy camp on Rome's outskirts earlier this week increased pressure on authorities to crack down on immigrants.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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(Newser) – Italy has begun taking fingerprints from members of its Gypsy minority, in what the government calls a “census” of the people living in nomad encampments. The plans to document adults and children lacking an EU passport has brought condemnations from critics, who charge that “census” is the Berlusconi government’s euphemism for a racist practice, the BBC reports.

"We intend…to see who lives in Gypsy camps, who has a right to stay,” said the interior minister, who said the move will help fight crime and improve living conditions. Italy performs a complete census every 10 years in which individuals are not fingerprinted. The EU parliament will review the issue next week.