World

Migrants hold up traffic, demand documents in Milan

Hundreds of migrants scuffled with police and briefly blocked a major road Monday in Milan in a protest against their living conditions.

'This home is not good, this home is not good,' one of the migrants shouted

More than 100,000 migrants have reached Italy so far this year by sea, according to an Italian Interior Ministry tally. (Awakening/Getty Images)

Hundreds of migrants scuffled with police and briefly blocked a major road Monday in Milan — Italy's financial capital — in a protest against their living conditions and their long wait for authorization to seek work.

Chanting "documents, documents," around 300 migrants held up traffic on a main route into the city. Riot police were called in to push the men back into their nearby temporary camp, where they are awaiting registration and identity papers.

"This home is not good, this home is not good," one of the migrants shouted. The protesters came primarily from Africa. 

This image shows some of the roughly 300 migrants, mainly from Eritrea, who arrived at a Milan train station in June with hopes of receiving help from authorities. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 100,000 migrants have reached Italy so far this year by sea, according to an Italian Interior Ministry tally.

While many of the newcomers look to move swiftly to wealthier northern countries in Europe, at least 85,000 are housed in Italian shelters, often hoping for temporary documents that will let them seek work.

As in other European countries, the huge influx has created political tensions, with some opposition parties demanding a much more robust approach to tackling the issue of migrants.

"What the hell! They are guests here who we are paying for and they are busting our balls," Matteo Salvini, the leader of the rightist Northern League party, wrote on his Facebook page after the Milan protest.

"I would put them on the first plane and send them all home," he added.

Salvini's anti-immigration rhetoric has helped turned the Northern League — a party traditionally rooted in the northern part of the country — into Italy's third-most popular political party.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.