Friday, September 29, 2023

Dozens of migrants every day – mayor deploys soldiers

t online Dozens of migrants every day – mayor deploys soldiers Article by Christoph Cöln • 9 hours "Planned disaster" Lampedusa is now seen as a symbol of a failed migration policy. But difficult conditions also prevail in Trieste. The mayor is now taking action. While the European Union is bitterly negotiating a tightening of its asylum regulations, numerous refugees continue to arrive at the borders of the member states. Lampedusa is just the best-known example; the island recently had to declare a state of emergency because so many people are arriving there that the island's reception capacity has been exhausted. A place that is rarely in focus, but where the situation is also tense, is Trieste. According to the Italian news agency Ansa, dozens of refugees land in the city in northeastern Italy every day. In the first half of 2023 alone there were almost 8,000 people, including many unaccompanied minors. The city does not have any reception centers at all. There are only a dozen sleeping places available, which are provided by aid organizations. Many of the refugees therefore sleep in a run-down warehouse near the main train station; during the day and at night they meet in the market square of the city of 200,000 inhabitants. In the warehouse complex called "Silos", where up to 500 migrants sleep on the floor at times, the situation is unbearable, refugee activist Corrado Mandreoli reports to the Italian newspaper "Il Post": "The first few times I went [to the silos], "To distribute clean clothes, everyone asked me if I should wear tight pants at the ankles to prevent mice from entering: this is the standard." "A planned catastrophe" For months now, none of the arriving refugees have been distributed to other places in Italy or Europe, so there are more and more of them in the city. The newspaper “Corriere della Sera” recently wrote about “miserable conditions and a serious health and hygiene risk” for the refugees. Nobody in Trieste seems to really feel responsible for the people. “There is a planned humanitarian disaster brewing here,” Gianfranco Schiavone from the refugee aid organization Consorzio Italiano Solidarietà (ICS) told Ansa. "It's an irresponsibility of public administration like I've never seen before." As the magazine "" reports, the system for accepting refugees and distributing them in the country was still functioning until 2017. But Roberto Dipiazza, a man who has been sitting in the city's town hall intermittently since 2001, appears to be somewhat at a loss when it comes to migration policy. He calls the situation in his city “bad, very bad.” "I have been dealing with problems related to migrants since the 1990s, I have seen everything and more, but I could not imagine something like this," the 70-year-old politician told Corriere della Sera. "The city is in a state of emergency. As a municipality, we can't do much." Migrants sleep on the bare ground in front of a run-down warehouse in Trieste. Trieste's mayor is said to have ordered the deployment of soldiers. According to "", a military unit in conjunction with the local police has recently sealed off the station forecourt. Dipiazza: Trieste should not become a symbol of failure The local politician belongs to the right-wing conservative party Forza Italia of the former Italian Prime Minister and now deceased right-wing populist Silvio Berlusconi. He doesn't want his city to become a symbol of failed migration policy. “Just as Lampedusa fell into crisis, we too are in crisis today,” Dipiazza told the newspaper il Post. The use of army units is nothing unusual in Italy. In previous years, the government in Rome had ordered the military to protect special public places. Even during the Corona crisis, some soldiers were deployed to protect the population. Nevertheless, the opposition and aid organizations criticize the Trieste mayor's tough actions and accuse him of "symbolic actions" to calm the population. Popular meeting place for refugees: Piazza della Liberta in Trieste In any case, Dipiazza's military deployment does not appear to be a long-term solution to the problem of refugee movements. Trieste is prominently located on the so-called Balkan route, the overland route through which many people from Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan come to Europe.