‘We don’t want them here’: Italian commune blocks arrival of 12 migrant women & kids
Twelve migrant women and their children had to be relocated after residents of Gorino, a commune in northern Italy, barricaded entrances to the town in protest of their arrival.
The incident took place Monday night. The protesters used planks of wood and iron bins to create road blocks at three entrances to the commune and shouted anti-migrant slogans.
“We don’t want them here,” they chanted, according to La Nuova Ferrara daily.
Some 200 people took part in the protest, Local reports. The population of Gorino is around 400-500 people.
Town authorities decided to relocate the asylum seekers in the ‘Love and Nature’ hostel. The building belongs to the authorities but has been rented out for at least four years.
All in all, 12 women, at least one of whom is pregnant, and 8 children were set to arrive. Housing the women was “necessary, taking into account the saturation of the shelters already in operation and the lack of further availability,” the statement from the prefecture said.
The owner of the hostel, however, said that he had informed town authorities a week before the women’s arrival that all rooms in the hostel had already been booked by tourists.
The protesters insisted their actions were not racist.
“Our region is isolated. We have nothing. There was the only place we were developing [the beach], so that the tourists could come to us. And tomorrow we will not have this place, because it is now for migrants!” one of the protesters said, according to La Nuova Ferrara daily. He added that the hostel is the only place where tourists can spend the night when they arrive at the beach.
The migrant women were relocated to other parts of the region: Comacchio, Fiscaglia and Ferrara. This decision was made by local authorities following talks between Ferrara Mayor Tiziano Tagliani, police, and demonstrators, Italian ANSA news agency reported.
Regional councilor from the far-right Northern League Party, Alan Fabbi, hailed the protesters as “heroes of the resistance against the tyranny of acceptance.”
“Thanks to those who have risen this night, thanks to those who fought to win democracy and common sense,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
But there were also those who criticized the protest, calling it racist and intolerant.
“The shame of it, really, the shame,” one user wrote, while another added: “this is an example of what happens when a paranoid province has too much free time.”
“The ‘heroic’ people of Gorino …. stops INVASION of 11 women (sic), one pregnant, and 8 children in search of a refuge. HUMAN S**T !!!” wrote one more user on Twitter.
Over a million people, fleeing from wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, flooded Europe in 2015, causing the largest migrant crisis faced by the continent in decades.
Thousands of refugees arrive in Italy every month as they brave the dangerous boat trip across the Mediterranean from Libya, which has already seen hundreds drowning.
On Tuesday, the Italian Interior Ministry said that more than 153,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Italy since the start of 2016.