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In Palermo, "another 350 tourists arriving forever" Salvini quipped. Screenshot from Facebook

Salvini threatens to charge Rome with illegal immigration

The former Italian interior minister and Lega boss Matteo Salvini had previously announced consequences if the government goes ahead with accepting illegal migrants disembarking in Italian ports.

Published: September 3, 2020, 9:16 am

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    “The Lega will charge the government with supporting illegal immigration if they allow these 353 other illegal immigrants to land on board this other illegal ship,” the newspaper Il Giornale quoted him as saying.

    The German refugee aid ship Sea-Watch 4 has received permission to enter the Sicilian port of Palermo. The more than 350 asylum seekers on board are expected to transfer to a quarantine ship on Wednesday, confirmed a Sea-Watch spokesman for the epd news agency.

    League parliamentarians protested in front of the Palazzo Chigi in Rome, holding up placards calling for a “stop to the invasion”.

    On Twitter, Salvini noted: “Hundreds of landings with law enforcement agencies on the brink and Lampedusa increasingly in chaos. We denounce this incapable and dangerous government for aiding illegal immigration and because it puts the health of citizens and women and men in uniform at risk.”

    He also sarcastically remarked that the “new champion of the left” Pia Klemp was “elegant, tolerant and democratic” after the Antifa captain of the Banksy-sponsored vessel made obscene gestures directed at the League boss. He added that the leftist notion of conservatives allegedly “spreading hate” was ridiculous in view of her hostile attitude.

    At the beginning of last week, the crew picked up around 200 people from trafficking boats on the Mediterranean. Around 150 more were then added from the Louise Michel ship , which the British street artist Banksy financed. The crew of Sea-Watch 4 then asked Malta and Italy to assign it a safe harbor. Both countries initially rejected this.

    In the past few days, the number of illegal immigrants coming to Italy across the Mediterranean has risen sharply with 1 100 migrants registered over the weekend alone. The reception center on Lampedusa was already overcrowded with 1 500 immigrants, the Ministry of the Interior in Rome admitted.

    The EU Commission has confirmed the receipt of a request from Rome, according to which illegal migrants should be distributed to other EU countries. “Contacts with Member States are ongoing and we call on Member States to contribute to a solution in a spirit of solidarity,” the agency said on Tuesday.

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