In the video advert below, intended to attract activists to a protest in Milan last Saturday against the “invasion” of migrants in Italy, Umberto Bosco, the party's councillor candidate for the Emilia-Romagna region, asks viewers: “Having difficulty paying the rent? Then take Abdullah home and Alfano [Angelino Alfano, Italy’s Interior Minister] will give you €900 a month.”
The video was made weeks after Domenico Manzione, undersecretary at the Interior Ministry, put forward the proposal to pay Italians €30 to host a migrant.
“Having trouble paying your mortgage? Then put Fatima up on the sofa,” Bosto went on to say, as a woman in a headscarf appears on the screen.
“She’s pregnant, so the payment will soon double.”
He then addresses the concern people might have with “spending all the €900 on the migrant”.
“Just put them in a cellar and give them bread, water and a bucket for their needs.”
At the end, he says: "Until yesterday, the immigration business was reserved for smugglers and exploiters, but thanks to Renzi’s government, you too can make money from the African continent."
The video was soon shared by thousands of extremists, and branded “racist” by those on the left, the website, ilrestodelcarlino.it reported.
Bosco argued that the video was “ironic” and intended to reflect “the absurdity of the proposal from Renzi’s government".
“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that such a proposal (which was withdrawn) would trigger a system of systematic exploitation of new arrivals.”
The demonstration last Saturday also called on Italy to stop Mare Nostrum, the sea rescue operation launched after hundreds of migrants died in two shipwrecks last October.
The number of people making the treacherous crossing to Italy from north Africa so far this year has reached some 118,000, triple the number last year, while more than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing attempting the crossing.