The town administration of Sedriano in Milan province, some 15 km west of the city, has been closed by the government for infiltration by organised crime.
This is the first time such action has been taken in Lombardy, although it is frequently used in the southern regions where different mafia groupings are based.
Prestigious daily Il Sole 24 Ore reports that the move follows months of discussion and polemics involving the mayor, elected in 2009 at the head of a centre-right coalition, and his town council. The mayor was arrested on corruption charges in October 2012, but released at the beginning of this year.
On Saturday 19 October, residents held a protest march through the town, demanding “No ‘Ndrangheta”. The ‘ndrangheta is the mafia-like criminal association based in Calabria. While not as well-known outside Italy as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, it is still a powerful organisation, which since the 1950s began spreading towards the north of the country, and then abroad. It is now active in North and South America and throughout Europe, in particular in Germany and Benelux.