Help with a Firm Hand

The good news traveled fast. As a leftist, Bologna's incoming mayor Sergio Cofferati was sure to be a friend to the city's most marginalized. And so an illegal encampment of Roma refugees on the city's outskirts began attracting new residents. "Word was spreading," recalls Bologna immigration chief Fausto Amelii, "that the new administration was going to take care of them."

But if Cofferati was indeed a friend, he turned out to be the kind who tells you what you don't want to hear — in this case, "Camp closed!" In 2005, nine months after his election,...

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