Facebook blocks Salvini over 'gypsies' slur

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Matteo Salvini is the leader of the right-wing Northern League. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP
15:46 CEST+02:00
Italy's far-right leader Matteo Salvini has been temporarily banned from Facebook for using the word “gypsies”, he claimed on Thursday.

Salvini, leader of the Northern League, said his personal Facebook profile had been blocked for 24 hours after he wrote “gypsies” (“zingari”). Turning to Twitter, the politician said the move was “absurd!”

A spokesperson for Facebook was not immediately available to confirm whether Salvini had been temporarily banned.

Salvini came under criticism yesterday for stating that if given the chance he would “raze the Roma camps to the ground.”

Speaking on International Roma Day, Salvini said around 40,000 ethnic Roma currently living in government-run camps should rent or buy homes.

Members of the community, however, face barriers in applying for social housing, even though many people living in camps were born in Italy.

Associazione 21 Luglio, a Roma rights group, has called for the camps to be closed and residents to be given equal access to housing.

The association on Wednesday accused Salvini of courting voters and said the Northern League had in the past proposed maintaining the camp system.

READ MORE: Italy's right-wing chief in bulldoze threat to Roma

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In a bid to tackle discrimination against the Roma community, Rome’s mayor last year banned the word “nomads” (“nomadi”) being used in city hall.

Mayor Ignazio Marino said Roma, Sinti and Caminanti (travellers) were more accurate terms which could help promote integration.

READ MORE: Rome mayor bans the word 'nomad'

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