By decision of April 3rd 2017 the President of the Italian Republic – on the advice of the Council of State - upheld the appeal submitted by the association Avvocato di strada Onlus opposing the order issued in march 2015 by the mayor of the municipality of Molinella, in Emilia Romagna region. The order provides for fines from 25 to 500 Euros as well as the confiscation of all sums of money received. In Italy aggressive begging is already punished by the law, but the order was intended to punish any kind of begging, no matter how, either in an annoying and violent way, or just silently and quietly, sitting on the side of the road or in front of a church extending a hand. The effect was in the end to criminalise poverty by punishing the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people at the moment in which they reach out for help.
The association Avvocato di strada Onlus is a non-profit institution that promotes free legal assistance to the homeless, both inside and outside of court. Representing a mendicant woman, the association immediately appealed against the order, that after the decision has been canceled, since, as the Council of State said in its advice, “the simple beggary cannot be repressed if it’s confined to a simple help request”.
You can read the complete Press Release (in Italian) here.