Outrage in Italy over anti-Down Syndrome Facebook page

Posted at 02/22/2010 3:02 PM | Updated as of 02/22/2010 3:02 PM

ROME – Politicians and Internet activists in Italy have denounced a page on the social networking site Facebook that calls for children with Down Syndrome to be used for target practice.

Police were trying to track down who set up the page, which features a photo of a Down Syndrome baby with the word "idiot" superimposed on it, and by late Sunday had attracted nearly 1,700 members.

The page proposed what it said was "an easy and amusing solution" to get rid of "these foul creatures": use them as targets at shooting centres.

Equality minister Mara Carfagna, promising legal action against those responsible for the page, denouncing it as "unacceptable and dangerous."

A number of rival groups have already been set up on Facebook to denounce the original page, one of which had attracted more than 17,000 members.

"People's ignorance has no limits," Manuela Colombo, the president of a support group for families with Down Syndrome children told ANSA news agency.

Police action to get the site shut down might take some time according to some experts, because Facebook is based in Palo Alto, California, and the procedure might entail a lengthy legal process.

One baby in 1,200 is born with Down Sydrome in Italy and there are 38,000 with the condition living there, 61% of whom are older than 25 years, according to figures cited by the Italian Down Syndrome Association, ANSA reported.