Sicilians have taken to the streets in an effort to have a migrant centre closed down. The march coincided with a terror attack authorities tried to downplay.
Hundreds of Sicilians held a protest march in an attempt to encourage the authorities to close down a migrant centre in Siculiana.
Mayor Leonardo Lauricella, who led the parade, told local media: “This centre must close because we have been welcoming migrants for 4 years.
The Mayor also expressed his misgivings about intergration. “It is quite clear that there can never be integration, he said.
“It is clear that this centre, managed in this way does not welcome or even integrate, but (there is) simply a mass of people, creating problems for our economy and for the planning of the territory.”
According to an agreement with the Italian Interior Ministry, there should be an average of three of four migrants per thousand inhabitants, “so here there should be 15, at most 20, migrants that could be integrated into our territory, but this is not the case,” he explained.
“If hundreds of migrants arrive here and after eight days they leave to get another 300 people, it is quite clear that there can never be integration and therefore participation and genuine hospitality.”
A concerned citizen who took part in the march told the Agrigento Notizie newspaper: “Enough! For 4 years we have this centre that has blocked all social activities. The children no longer have a playground, the girls can not go out, the villa has been transformed in a urinal, we are not racist, we want to be able to welcome and integrate.”
Over the summer, Italy enforced new measures to prevent charities and NGOs from trafficking migrants by picking them up just off the coast of Libya and bringing them into Europe.
During the G7 meeting, which was held in Sicily in May, NGO vessels were banned from docking in Sicilian ports over fears for the security of the attending world leaders.
Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano had accused charity workers of working with people smugglers to bring as many people as possible into Europe.
Ordinary Sicilians are now demanding the same protection that pro-immigration Italian leaders expect for themselves.
Since 2013, half a million migrants, mostly sub-Saharan African men, have arrived in Italy by sea from Libya, and according to the UN, only 30 percent are refugees.
The Ansa news agency reported on Monday that the man was being investigated on suspicion of wanting to carry out a massacre.
On Saturday the attacker seriously injured a woman at an outdoor skating ring near the Sondrio, northern Italy, holiday market before crashing into a pillar.
Originally, the crash, which slightly injured two other strollers in the pedestrian-only square, was blamed on “drunk driving” but Sondrio’s chief prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.
According to mainstream media sources, there was no sign of terrorist aims. But the man, named as Michele Bordoni, is also accused of grievous body harm of a police officer and resisting arrest, in charges prosecutors are set to present a judge when asking for the suspect to remain in jail.
Bordoni alleged wanted to “indifferently kill a number of people”. The attacker said: “I should have killed more of them” when he was arrested, sources said on Monday. He was first taken to hospital and then moved to a prison on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Matteo Salvini, leader of Lega, the leading party on the right polling at 15 percent, could together with Fratelli d’Italia polling at 5 percent), garner enough support to win a working majority in coming the election.
Comic demagogue Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement tops the polls at 27 percent, but the party cannot win because it refuses to join coalitions.
Last month’s regional elections was in essence a dress rehearsal for the national campaign. Who wins Sicily, wins Italy, and the coalition of the right won hands-down.
There are 180 000 migrants in welfare centres, Salvini pointed out and “another 300 000” at large. “I’ll send the navy to blockade Libya to stop them, and deport those who are not genuine refugees within a year of coming to power,” he has promised.
“I tell the truth and they call me a fascist, a racist, an ugly, dirty, nasty, xenophobic populist. But my success reflects the reality that Italians are fed-up.”
Salvini has dismissed the accusations. He told the Bristish conservative weekly, The Spectator: “I’m a federalist. Look, the so-called ‘far right’ defends the working class far more than the left does.”
Since 2004, Salvini has been a Euro MP with Lega affiliated to the same bloc in the Euro Parliament as Marine Le Pen’s Front National and Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party.