This is unbelievable. After a wave of ugly rhetoric and dubious policies, a number of northern Italian councils run by the far-right Northern League (Silvio Berlusconi's biggest coalition partner in government) have gone on the rampage against anything foreign.
Top of the list, the town of Capriate, 20 miles from Milan, where the council announced a ban on kebab and 'ethnic' shops from the town centre. The news hasn't reached the foreign press yet, so you'll have to be able to understand Italian if you want to find out more here and here.
In a nutshell, a council ordinance tabled by the Northern League bans all 'ethnic' shops and businesses from Capriate town centre. Most stunning is the motivation offered by the Chair of Trade and Safety at the local council: "This is not a racist decision [of course, ed.]. The town centre is short of parking space and those businesses would worsen traffic congestion".
The ban is a direct consequence of last June's ruling by the Lombard Regional Assembly (also governed by Berlusconi's coalition) which granted local councils power to shut down businesses that are deemed "incompatible" with the "local context". "We couldn't just sit down in front of the invasion of kebab shops, internet cafes and Chinese restaurants that are sucking the identity out of our town centres", explained Northern League Assembly Members Daniele Belotti and Giouse' Frosio.