I mentioned last night that the Italian government had declared the migrant crisis to be over. The Italians said the interdiction efforts undertaken in cooperation with Tunisia had been effective, and the flow of boats had stopped.
This assertion seemed somewhat premature and over-optimistic, and the events of the past twenty-four hours have borne that out. It seems the lull was in fact due to stormy weather.
According to ANSAmed:
Landings Resume in Lampedusa, Boat Arriving
Lampedusa (agrigento), April 15 — After a brief hiatus due to bad weather, migrants have again begun to land on the island of Lampedusa.
One boat carrying 46 Tunisians, three of them women, was rescued last night by a patrol boat belonging to the Italian Financial Guard. One of the migrants, who were transferred on to the Yellow Flames boat, was pulled out of the water alive after going overboard.
A further boat carrying around 300 refugees from Libya has already been sighted in the Strait of Sicily.
The culture-enrichers who are already resident on the island — fed and housed at the expense of the Italian taxpayer — are staging protests against the possibility of repatriation:
The island’s first aid reception centre, where the Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa is expected to arrive today, was the setting yesterday for protests by around a hundred immigrants against the repatriations that have begun in recent days, following an agreement signed with the Tunisian government.
The Italian authorities are relocating migrants to various places on the mainland. The relocated groups are said to be small — perhaps in an attempt to forestall the violent demonstrations that tend to erupt spontaneously whenever a high enough density of cultural enrichment is reached.
According to AGI:
200 Tunisians to be Distributed Throughout Lombardy
Milan — Around 200 migrants from Lampedusa arrived at a Red Cross centre in Bresso in the Milan hinterland. Regional security chief, Romano La Russa, speaking this morning at an election meeting, explained: “We have found them accommodation.
They will be distributed in all the provinces, but not in Milan, in groups of 15-20 at most. They will be looked after by third sector associations. They are not refugees, but immigrants and are mainly from Tunisia. However, other immigrants may arrive in Milan and Lombardy on their own initiative, destined for other regions. In any case, there is absolutely no danger of tent cities.
Temporary residence permits — the kind that the rest of the EU objects so vehemently to — are now being issued for Tunisians at a camp in Sicily:
Temporary Permits for 700 Tunisians at Trapani’s Tent City
(AGI) Trapani — Temporary permits to stay in Italy are being released to around 700 migrants housed at Kinisia’s tent city.
The operation began this morning at the reception centre near Trapani. Gathered in small groups, the migrants will be transferred from Kinisia reception centre for asylum seekers, to Salinagrande, where the permits will be issued. They will return to the Kinisia again later.
Finally, and most significantly, Italy seem to be poking France in the eye yet again. By issuing temporary residence permits to residents of the camp at Ventimiglia — hard on the French border — the Italian authorities are inviting a mass attempt by the Tunisians in the camp to storm the cordon the French have established at the border, and try to break through.
At least that’s the way I read it. Here’s the story:
First Permits to Stay Given to Migrants in Ventimiglia
(AGI) Ventimiglia — The Ventimiglia (Imperia) Police has started to hand out the first permits to stay for humanitarian reasons. They have been given to Tunisian refugees who disembarked on Lampedusa during the last few weeks. The distribution will continue all day tomorrw and a little group of migrants is now standing in front of the Via Aprosio barracks. A little highlight: to reporters asking for interviews or photographs, the migrants request 3 or 5 Euros to let them photograph them holding their permits or to tell their story. Together with their permits to stay, the migrants are given a permit to travel which is the equivalent of our passport but apparently the French authorities are still refusing to recognise it.
It will be interesting to see how the French respond.
That’s the wrap-up for today. The crisis hasn’t exactly taken the weekend off, but the number of news stories is certainly lower.
Hat tips: Insubria and C. Cantoni.