Society Migration and populations

Italy: Tragedy at sea and riots onshore

2 August 2011
Presseurop
La Stampa

La Stampa, 2 August 2011

La Stampa features two tragic pictures side by side on its front page: the first image shows the corpses of 25 Africans who died of asphyxiation in the unventilated hold of a boat loaded with 271 Libyan migrants which arrived in Lampedusa on 1 August. “They were prevented from escaping from the hold by their own travelling companions because there was no room on the boat”, witnesses told the Turin-based daily. “They died like rats”.

The second picture, taken on the same day, shows the riots in Bari (Apulia region). Frustrated by delays in the processing of their asylum applications, African migrants, who have been held for seven months in a “filtration” camp, “chanted ‘papiers papiers,’ before rioting and blocking traffic. A total of 60 people including policemen and migrants were injured”. The protest, reports La Repubblica, spread to the Calabrian town of Crotone, where “migrants emulated the riots in Bari,” and Nardò (Apulia) where “400 North African farm labourers went on strike for better wages”.

Last year in Rosarno (Calabria), African migrants, who complained that they were “being treated like animals by Italians,” staged violent protests.