Protesters march against Italy’s new antimigrant law

By AFP

ROME • Several thousand people marched in Rome on Saturday in protest at Italy’s tough new anti-migrant law which makes it easier to expel new arrivals.

The protesters waved flags and donned yellow vests emblazoned with the slogan “Get up! Stand Up! For your right” in a reference to the famous Bob Marley song.

The new law would “only increase the number of people without papers in Italy and force people underground”, protester Kone Brahima, originally from Ivory Coast, told AFP.

Another, Tony Scardamaglia, from Palermo, said: “We are still building more walls, more barriers,” adding that the anti-migrant and security degree adopted last month would just cause more “difficulties”.

The decree, adopted by Parliament on Nov 28, also limits residence permits in a country that has become the main gateway for migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

A populist coalition government made up of the far-right League and anti-establishment Five Star Movement took power in Italy in April 2018.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant League has since surged in popularity, with opinion polls putting the party on 30%, up from the 17% it won in the election.

The Italian Refugee Council has said it is “seriously concerned” by the new law.

The United Nations refugee agency has also said it does “not provide adequate guarantees, especially for the vulnerable or those with particular needs such as victims of abuse or torture”.

This year, some 22,500 migrants landed on Italy’s coasts, representing a drop of more than 80% compared to 2017.