The mayor of Venice is talking tough and showing he means business as he issues the stern warning that anyone caught shouting “Allahu Akhbar” in the city’s St. Mark’s Square will be shot.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro bragged in a conference that Venice was safer than Barcelona, where 13 people killed this month by a terror attack as a van drove down tourist attraction Las Ramblas.
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The mayor described by many as “right-wing” said: “In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up. If anyone runs into St. Mark’s Square shooting ‘Allahu Akhbar’, we will take him down. A year ago, I said after four steps, now after three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe Sparemo’ ( We will shoot him).”
Brugnaro recalled the decisive arrest they made in Venice in March of four suspected Kosovan jihadists who allegedly planned to kill hundreds of tourists by blowing up the Rialto bridge. He proudly said: “In Venice, we arrested four terrorists who wanted to blow up the Rialto bridge, saying they wanted to go to Allah. But we’ll send them straight to Allah before they can do any damage.”
Brugnaro, a successful businessman before going into politics also shared in his speech: “I have never been politically correct, I am incorrect. I would shoot, we would shoot…if you want to kill me, maybe I will defend myself.”
The mayor’s comments came just as Venice is in the thick of preparations for the famous annual film festival, and where there are fears for security at the event following terror attacks in the rest of Europe.
The strong speech is nothing new for Brugnaro as he has had past blunt takes on issues, too. In 2015, Brugnaro said he would ban gay pride processions from Venice, calling them “buffoonery, the height of kitsch.”
Brugnaro also had children’s books from the city’s libraries about same sex parents removed. The order angered Sir Elton John who has two children with a surrogate mother with his male partner. He called Brugnaro a “boorishly bigoted” and “stupid.” The mayor retaliated and famously shot back at Sir Elton John: “You represent the arrogance of those who are rich and can do anything.”