Migrants hold up traffic, demand documents in Milan
'This home is not good, this home is not good,' one of the migrants shouted
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.
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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.
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"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.