So, it turns out the ‘Attentzione Pickpocket’ woman is a councillor for a far-right party
Lega Nord is anti-immigration, anti-abortion and against LGBT marriage
Monica Poli is universally adored on TikTok after her videos catching out pickpockets with the now infamous catchphrase “Attentzione, Pickpocket!” went viral.
Monica’s Anti-Pickpocketing group Cittadini Non-Distratti (Undistracted Citizens) told The Tab: “Civic sense, love for Venice and the will to eradicate the social scourge of pickpocketing and child exploitation for us it has no political party colour.”
Lega Nord, which translates to Northern League, is a right-wing, conservative political party in Italy. The party was founded to promote northern Italian separatism but has since become associated with more extreme right wing views.
Its leader, Matteo Salvini, views Italian culture and way of life as “under attack” due to mass immigration. Ahead of Italy’s election in 2018, Lega Nord promised to deport 400,000 immigrants. He has spoken of “illegal immigrants stealing, raping and dealing drugs.” In 2018, he received worldwide criticism after turning away a stranded boat of 600 African refugees.
The party uses the slogan “Italians first” and opposes southern Italian migration to the north. They also believe that Islam represents a fundamental threat to the values and integrity of northern Italians.
In 2012, a former councillor of Lega Nord, Donatella Galli, said: “To me, southerners are like the Jews were to Hitler, and should be placed in ovens.”
Monica Poli is a part of a anti-pickpocketting group Cittadini Non Distratti, who for more than 30 years have patrolled the streets of Venice and screamed at anyone they suspect of pickpocketing. Undistracted Citizens is actually responsible for over a third of pick-pocketing arrests in the city.
But others have pointed out that Monica’s fight against pickpockets is a campaign of harassment against the Roma community. “Pickpocket” is a common stereotype for the Roma community in Europe and some have argued that Monica is perpetuating this.
Monica Poli told The New York Times: “When I see them, I know they are pickpockets. It is so strange to say … I have something inside me and I recognise immediately.”
Cittadini Non Distratti told The Tab: “Each CND Committee volunteer has a personal political orientation but in the context of the fight against pickpocketing and child exploitation all of us are united under a single common non-partisan line.
They continued: “Civic sense, love for Venice and the will to eradicate the social scourge of pickpocketing and child exploitation for us it has no political party colour.
“We also reiterate our absolute non-involvement in any fundraising, bank transfers or other money transfer systems. Waiting for the responsible institutuions to act quickly against this serious scourge, we thank all who are supporting us.”
Monica Poli has been contacted for comment.
Featured image via TikTok.