ITALY: In Como, You’re Now Forbidden From Helping the Homeless

(LIBERTIES.EUCriticisms and complaints about the Northern Italian town’s mayor’s order to outlaw the distribution of food to homeless people.

With an order signed on December 15, the mayor of Como, Mario Landriscina (head of a centre-right coalition), banned the act of ‘begging’, including and form that constitutes ‘occupying public spaces even with the use of cartons, signs and various accessories that cause inconvenience to the passage of pedestrians’.

In the name of decorum

The measure, which calls for a fine from €50 to €300 and the confiscation of ‘the means used to commit the violation’, is valid ‘within the walled city and in the immediate vicinity’ during the holidays and until the end of January.

The municipal order notes the ‘unusual increase of beggars dedicated to begging at numerous corners of the walled city’ using ‘invasive and insistent methods to the detriment of passersby’, including ‘photos to pity or showing their malformed limbs’.

The order also refers to the Minniti-Orlando decree, passed into law in April, in which ‘urban security’ means ‘the public good that relates to the livability and decorum of the city’.

Como bans giving food to the homeless

A few days later, the volunteers of the WelCom association denounced, in a post on Facebook, the new law that makes it a crime to distribute food to the homeless.

‘Yesterday morning, like every morning for more than seven years, we went to the former church of San Francesco in Como to distribute breakfast to homeless people. This morning, unlike other mornings, we were forbidden to do so because our simple actions would be contrary to the new ordinance of the City of Como’, their post read.

The order of the Municipality of Como has been criticized by many, including Caritas’ director, Roberto Bernasconi, who said it was ‘outlawing Jesus Christ too’.

Public demonstrations

Two events will be held in the city to request the withdrawal of the ordinance: Saturday, December 23, at 10 am, the group Como Without Borders has organised a sort of ‘solidarity bivouac’ in front of to the former church of San Francesco; on the 24th, there will be a flash mob titled ‘standing with homeless’. Unions, centre-left parties and volunteer associations have announced their plans to attend the demonstration on December 23rd.

The Italian Coalition of Freedom and Civil Rights (CILD) has deplored the order, which harms the right to solidarity, and announced that it will offer free legal assistance to volunteers who will be prevented from lending solidarity to Como.


Original article by Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights via

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