Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Italy: Tunisian migrants rumble in Lampedusa



It's not a fairy tale-like story for Tunisians since the North African state deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.
Several evacuees from neighboring strife-torn African states have left their country seeking refuge in Italy's southern territory Lampedusa that measures 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles), which is now home to over 1,500 migrants. Of these, 1,000 are Tunisians and the rest are from other places like Libya.
Several waves of migration happened in the European country’s islet since early this year with over 25,000 arrivals, said AFP.
On Monday, Tunisian refugees protested against their possible deportation following the controversial deal between Rome and Tunis last week.
Rome agreed to grant six-month residence permit to migrants who arrived prior to 5 April.
Tunis agreed to deport any migrants arriving after that date.
Some evacuees started fire in the islet and shouted "Freedom! Freedom!" There were no reports of any injuries.
Italy deported 30 Tunisians and was escorted by 60 policemen using two planes on Sunday.
The following day, two ships carrying 226 migrants arrived in Lampedusa.
Rome criticized the EU and Paris for their failure to help dealing with the influx of migrants.
A German official said it is up to Italy to deal with the migration problem in partnership with Tunisia.
"We cannot accept numerous economic migrants arriving in Europe through Italy. This is why we expect Italy to respect the existing legal rules and uphold its duty in discussions with the Tunisians," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said.
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi said on Sunday that 80 percent of the 21,000 Tunisian refugees wanted to reunite with their family and friends in France, their former colonial ruler.
Watch the attached video.
Details of this report here.
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