Crime and Court news / Foreign relations

Anti-immigration riots in Italy

Last week saw the districts of some Italian towns and cities, including Rome, revolt against groups of immigrants which had been just been housed by the Authorities in private residences (with the consent of the owners, who will be paid a rent by the Government).

There were no victims, but the episodes reached unprecedented levels of violence, with rioters irrupting into the flats, taking away or smashing the furniture, or stopping the social workers trying to deliver food to the immigrants. Neo-fascist organizations like Forza Nuova and Casa Pound took part to the riots.

The Prefect of Treviso, under whose jurisdiction one of the most serious episodes took place, was sacked by the Government. The Prefects are the heads of the Government Territorial Offices in the Provinces, and as such have the primary responsibility to arrange for the accommodation of immigrants until a final decision on their asylum requests is adopted.

The GTOs earned a very bad reputation in the management of the emergency related to influx of immigrants across the Sicily Channel, being accused of simply sending around buses loaded with immigrants without even giving prior warning to the local Authorities.

GTOs are local branches of the central Government, which therefore takes the blame for all of their actions and omissions. The Government did not get much help from the European Institutions with EU Member States accepting, after long negotiations, to share responsibility just for a small quota of immigrants.

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