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  1. #1
    Senior Member European Knight's Avatar
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    May 2015

    Lampedusa migrants condemned by Mayor Salvatore Martello

    Lampedusa migrants condemned by Mayor Salvatore Martello

    The mayor of an island that was once a symbol for refugee compassion has warned it is descending into anarchy. His political opponents accuse him of stoking up fear and overstating the problem.

    The mayor of an Italian island easily reached by sea-faring Tunisian migrants complained on Sunday that his town was on the verge of societal collapse.

    Mayor Salvatore Martello said groups of migrants were flouting laws, harassing women and getting drunk, writing in an open letter to Italian news agency ANSA (Italian language) and in comments to Italian news outlets.

    "Threats, harassments, thefts, Lampedusa is about to collapse," Martello wrote, calling for the closure of the "useless" migrant center on the island. "Police are powerless," he wrote.

    "The bars are full of Tunisians who are drunk and harass women. I receive tens of messages from frightened tourists, hoteliers, traders and restauranteurs who suffer daily."

    Residents outnumbered

    After a decade out of power, Martello was re-elected recently as mayor of Italy's southernmost island, which over the past 20 years has become a primary entry point for migrants to Europe. At times its temporary migrant population has outnumbered the island's 6,000 permanent residents.

    Lampedusa has long held the image of having open arms for migrants. Its residents were nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in rescuing hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants, many from Eritrea, Syria and Libya, and treating them with dignity and compassion.

    "The inhabitants have proved capable of living in peaceful co-existence with the new-comers, while showing a unique ability to express empathy and solidarity," Oslo Professor Elisabeth Eide wrote in her nomination letter.

    Previous Mayor Giusi Nicolini in April 2017 was awarded the Unesco peace prize for "her humanity, and her constant efforts in managing the refugee crisis."

    But Martello, who served as mayor from 1992 to 2002 and was re-elected in June, presented a picture of an island struggling with lawlessness.

    Although the reception center is heavily guarded by multiple security agencies, rowdy migrants are able to come and go as they please, he argues.

    Mayor accused of restoring fear

    His comments were rejected by his predecessor Nicolini, who told ANSA he was vastly overstating the problem and that there were very few thefts.

    "This is an attempt to restore the climate of fear that existed on Lampedusa before my election," she was quoted as saying.

    Nicolini conceded that the flow of Libyan refugees had been replaced by small numbers of Tunisian migrants who were evading controls.

    Priest denies problems

    The island's parish priest said he was surprised by Martello's comments, in comments to La Stampa(Italian language).

    He said the recent Tunisian arrivals were "very young and certainly noisy," but that the island remained calm and it was possible to live there. He said he had recently brought a delegation to the island and that the migrants remained almost invisible.

    "I'm not at all aware of disturbances or crimes." He said it was probable that Martello was seeking to boost his political position.

    It would be a tall order for Rome to dismantle the so-called hotspot center, as it was opened following an explicit request from the European Union. The hotspots serve as point of first call to identify, document and often deport Mediterranean arrivals.

    Lampedusa migrants condemned by Mayor Salvatore Martello | News ...

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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    "Priest denies problems"


    That sums it all up!

    Load up the barges and send them back!

    These Churches need to mind their own business and stop shoving your agenda down our throats.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    If they stopped allowing them to set foot w/o papers/permission to be on another country's soil, they would not have this problem. Turn them @!

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