As we had feared, the day the migrants were “accommodated” started badly during the night and finished in the worst possible scenario: after a day of waiting for the identification process to be completed, members of the CIR (Italian Council for Refugees) and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) left last night after being told to return this morning on the reassurance from members of Digos (Italian special investigations police) that they would finally be able to provide the migrants with the necessary information to proceed with applications for asylum. The 52 minors were accompanied to various reception centres for minors which was nonetheless a slow process due to the lack of interpreters and cultural mediators available.
The Anti-Racist Network began to protest. Yet despite everything after 10pm they were alarmed by the presence of 2 buses with a capacity for over 100 people near the former gym in Via Cordai. Our sense of alarm was more than justified and within the hour there was yet another shameful case of deportation and hurried collective expulsion indicative of the worst kind of policing. The Prefect of Catania and all members of the Police, Carabinieri and Finance Police are responsible for the suspension of the human rights (beginning with those on asylum, art.10 of the Constitution) of the migrants who had just arrived after having survived the increasingly frequent shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, caused by the criminal liberticide laws of the fort which is Europe. It is not possible for Rome to choose the country the migrants come from to suit the shameful repatriation agreements it has. Neither is it possible to try and hide its places of detention (which do not respect safety norms) or to deport migrants (at least three of the migrants were Coptic Christians who wanted to apply for asylum) in the dark of the night to prevent them having access to the process of applying for asylum.
As deportation seemed imminent, the thirty or so members of the Anti-Racist Network created a human carpet by lying down in front of the buses. This protest continued for two hours while they also provided the migrants with information about the risks they were facing, aware that they too were facing many of their own. During this protest, a gathering of local residents approached the sit-in. Some of them intervened and acted aggressively towards us, threatening some of the members for “disturbing” their zone (it is said that cocaine dealers operate just a few metres away). Unfortunately, the fantastic law-enforcing capacities of the police present, which are normally so “efficient” when defending the violation of migrants’ rights, once again saw and heard nothing. After another half an hour, the rally was broken up: yet a further shameful count of injustice of the strong versus the weak fuelled by the conniving yet absent media who choose to follow only distractedly the reality of what is going on. But the determination and the resistance of the Anti-Racist Network will not falter; it can only multiply because truth is on our side. We must work hard to make the truth count for something.
Ct 29/6 Catania Anti-Racist Network