CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, August 24, 2017





Defiant migrants throw rocks and bottles at riot police in Rome who turn on the water cannon to remove them from makeshift camp outside city's main train station

  • The refugees and migrants occupied the piazza in defiance of an order to leave an adjacent office building
  • More than 100 threw rocks, bottles at police in riot gear who hosed them down with powerful water cannon
  • The square, one block from Rome's main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins
  • Hung on building they once occupied was a sheet with the words, 'we are refugees, not terrorists', in Italian



Migrants and refugees threw rocks, bottles and gas cans at police in riot gear who were clearing more than a hundred of them from a makeshift camp in Rome.
They stood defiant in the face of the police's powerful water cannons as they were cleared from a piazza near Termini station.
The refugees occupied Indipendenza square in Rome in defiance of an order to leave an adjacent office building where as many as 800 had been squatting.
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Migrants and refugees threw rocks, bottles and gas cans at police in riot gear who were clearing about 100 people from a makeshift camp in a Rome 
Migrants and refugees threw rocks, bottles and gas cans at police in riot gear who were clearing about 100 people from a makeshift camp in a Rome 
The refugees stood defiant in the face of the police's powerful water cannon as they were cleared from a piazza near Termini station. Pictured: A policeman comforts a crying refugee who was evicted from an adjacent office building
The refugees stood defiant in the face of the police's powerful water cannon as they were cleared from a piazza near Termini station. Pictured: A policeman comforts a crying refugee who was evicted from an adjacent office building
The refugees occupied the small square in Rome in defiance of an order to leave an adjacent office building where as many as 800 had been squatting
The refugees occupied the small square in Rome in defiance of an order to leave an adjacent office building where as many as 800 had been squatting
Officials defended the decision to evict them, saying they refused to move to accommodation they had provided elsewhere in the city
Officials defended the decision to evict them, saying they refused to move to accommodation they had provided elsewhere in the city
TV footage showed some of the refugees - many from Eritrea - screaming and trying to hit police who were armed with batons and shields
TV footage showed some of the refugees - many from Eritrea - screaming and trying to hit police who were armed with batons and shields Officials defended the decision to evict them, saying they refused to move to accommodation provided for them.
TV footage showed some of the refugees - many from Eritrea - screaming and trying to hit police who were armed with batons and shields. 
The square, just one block from Rome's main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs. 
Hung on the building they once occupied was a sheet with the words, 'we are refugees, not terrorists', in Italian.
Police began clearing the building at dawn Saturday in the latest of several such operations as the city struggles to find accommodation for new migrants. 
On Sunday, the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) voiced 'grave concern' over the mass eviction - a sign of the country's growing frustration at Europe's migrant crisis. 
It said 200 of those expelled from the building were forced to sleep on the streets in a city already home to hundreds of homeless refugees who fled persecution and war, including many children. 
TV footage showed some of the refugees - many from Eritrea - screaming and trying to hit police who were armed with batons and shields
TV footage showed some of the refugees - many from Eritrea - screaming and trying to hit police who were armed with batons and shields
Italian law enforcement officers use water cannons to disperse around a hundred migrants protesting at Indipendenza square
Italian law enforcement officers use water cannons to disperse around a hundred migrants protesting at Indipendenza square
The square, just one block from Rome's main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs
The square, just one block from Rome's main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs
Migrants who once occupied an office building adjacent to the square were seen running from police water cannons
Migrants who once occupied an office building adjacent to the square were seen running from police water cannons
Two people were detained following today's clashes in which migrants were knocked to the ground by police water cannons
Two people were detained following today's clashes in which migrants were knocked to the ground by police water cannons
Commentators interpreted this weekend's eviction - carried out when Rome was virtually deserted - as a sign of hardening attitudes in Italy towards asylum seekers
Commentators interpreted this weekend's eviction - carried out when Rome was virtually deserted - as a sign of hardening attitudes in Italy towards asylum seekers
Hung on the building hundreds of migrants once occupied in central Rome was a sheet with the words: 'We are refugees, not terrorists'
Hung on the building hundreds of migrants once occupied in central Rome was a sheet with the words: 'We are refugees, not terrorists'
 Italy's reception facilities are under massive strain from migrants and the centre-left government, facing elections next year, is under pressure on the issue
 Italy's reception facilities are under massive strain from migrants and the centre-left government, facing elections next year, is under pressure on the issue
Interior Minister Marco Minniti, who has ultimate responsibility for Saturday's eviction, has recently overseen a series of controversial moves aimed at ending the crisis
Interior Minister Marco Minniti, who has ultimate responsibility for Saturday's eviction, has recently overseen a series of controversial moves aimed at ending the crisis
Commentators interpreted the unexpected eviction - carried out when Rome was virtually deserted - as a sign of hardening attitudes in Italy towards asylum seekers. 
Around 600,000 migrants have landed in Italy since 2014 - with more than 14,000 perishing on the treacherous route across the Mediterranean - but the country has seen a sharp fall in those arriving this year.
Around 13,500 have arrived in Italy since July 1, compared to 30,500 over the same period in 2016, a year-on-year fall of more than 55 percent.
Italy's reception facilities are still under massive strain and the centre-left government, facing elections next year, is under pressure on the issue. 
In June. Italy threatened to close its ports to aid groups rescuing migrants off Libya's coast with its representative to the EU, Maurizio Massari, saying the situation 'had become unsustainable'. 
After 10,000 refugees tried to cross the Mediterranean in just four days that month, Italy's former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said citizens were 'exasperated'. 
Around 600,000 migrants have landed in Italy since 2014, with more than 14,000 perishing on the treacherous route across the Mediterranean
Around 600,000 migrants have landed in Italy since 2014, with more than 14,000 perishing on the treacherous route across the Mediterranean
Anti-refugee sentiment in the country is said to be growing but the numbers of those arriving on Italy's shores has fallen dramatically this year
Anti-refugee sentiment in the country is said to be growing but the numbers of those arriving on Italy's shores has fallen dramatically this year
 Around 13,500 have arrived in Italy since July 1, compared to 30,500 over the same period in 2016, a year-on-year fall of more than 55 percent
 Around 13,500 have arrived in Italy since July 1, compared to 30,500 over the same period in 2016, a year-on-year fall of more than 55 percent
Interior Minister Marco Minniti, who has ultimate responsibility for Saturday's eviction, has recently overseen a series of controversial moves aimed at ending the crisis.
These include steps to curb the activity of charity and other privately-funded boats rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean and Italian naval support for Libyan coastguard efforts to intercept boats headed for Europe. 
Earlier this month, deputy foreign minister Mario Giro announced Italy is pushing for centres for refugees to be set up in Libya which could provide safety.
Giro said: 'We are working on it, but it's difficult... We need funds, agreements with the authorities and access to the country.'

Libya warning to EU: Terrorists posing as migrants will slip unchecked into Europe among thousands crossing the Med unless the West steps in

  • Libya has called for help from the EU to stem tide of migrants entering country
  • Prime Minister warned terrorists could be among those trying to reach Europe
  • Around 100,000 migrants have left Libya for Italy via the sea so far this year
  • Another 700,000 are still in the country and Libya wants help to secure border



Europe has been warned ISIS terrorists will slip unchecked into the continent unless Western powers do more to stop them.
The prime minister of Libya said the EU will be accountable if jihadis are able to 'move freely' through Europe and stage attacks.
It is understood the country is putting together a five-point plan to present to Brussels to 'solve the crisis' and police its borders.
The warning comes after attacks in Barcelona and Finland last week. Fourteen people died in the Catalan city after a van ploughed into tourists in La Ramblas while another was killed in nearby Cambrils when a group of people were run down by an Audi driven by armed jihadis.
Libya's prime minister has warned the EU that terrorists could be among tens of thousands of migrants entering the country as a means to get to Europe. Pictured are migrants at the Illegal Immigration Authority in Tripoli. There is no suggestion anyone pictured is involved in terrorism
Libya's prime minister has warned the EU that terrorists could be among tens of thousands of migrants entering the country as a means to get to Europe. Pictured are migrants at the Illegal Immigration Authority in Tripoli. There is no suggestion anyone pictured is involved in terrorism
Meanwhile in Finland, two women were stabbed to death with an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum-seeker suspect shot in the leg and subsequently arrested in connection with the killings.
According to The Times, Libyan leader Faiez Serraj said terrorists were passing unvetted among tens of thousands of migrants entering the country via its southern borders. He told the paper: 'When migrants reach Europe, they will move freely. If, God forbid, there are terrorist elements among the migrants, a result of any incident will affect all of the EU.'
Mr Serraj added his plan would recruit the EU to help secure Libya's southern border and lift a UN arms embargo to allow the country's coastguard to be better armed.
Faiez Serraj called on the EU to help Libya secure its border and prevent more migrants passing through in a bid to reach Italy. Pictured are migrants after they were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month off the coast of Libya
Faiez Serraj called on the EU to help Libya secure its border and prevent more migrants passing through in a bid to reach Italy. Pictured are migrants after they were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month off the coast of Libya
Libyan authorities deport 135 illegal migrants to Nigeria
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He told the paper: 'The EU must do more to us help face smuggling. We can't put the burden on Libya and Italy alone as it is important for all of Europe.'
Almost 100,000 migrants have left Libya for Italy so far in 2017 and around 700,000 more are believed to still be in the north African country.
Meanwhile anti-migrant feeling is on the rise in Italy where the Five star Movement, which campaigns against allowing migrants into the country, is expected to strongly challenge the Democratic Party currently in power at elections next year.
Luigi Di Maio, who is expected to run as Five Star's candidate for prime minister, told The Times Italy was becoming a 'refugee camp'
He said: 'We have ten million Italians living in poverty, while migrants are being given €38 a day to live. It's a pressure cooker that could explode.'
Meanwhile Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano has claimed the country has been 'abandoned' by the EU over the migrant crisis and said 'Italy cannot cope with the burden alone'. 
Mr Serraj said Libya and Italy 'could not face the burden alone' and will present a plan to the EU to try to deal with the crisis which includes allowing its coastguard to be 'better armed'
Mr Serraj said Libya and Italy 'could not face the burden alone' and will present a plan to the EU to try to deal with the crisis which includes allowing its coastguard to be 'better armed'
The abuse migrants who make the journey are being subjected to coupled with the potential terror threat make The Times special investigation doubly worrying. 
Once they get to Libya, having travelled largely from the Middle East and other parts of Africa, many fall into the dangerous hands of gangs who keep them as slaves. 
Male migrants are forced into back-breaking labour while the women are kept as sex slaves, and the majority are tortured in an attempt to squeeze ransom money from the prisoners' families, according to The Times. 
Women who refuse to go into forced prostitution, without seeing a penny of what they earn, are repeatedly gang-raped by groups of up to eight men. 
Groups of human traffickers pay as little as £550 for a person, and they are herded like cattle in their hundreds across the country in water tanks convoys protected by 150 militants with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles.  
The end goal for the majority is to escape the brutality for mainland Europe, initially Italy, by jumping into dinghys and crossing the Mediterranean. 
As a result, the anti-migrant Five Star Movement has pulled up level with the Democratic Party ahead of the elections next year.
Other parties with an anti-immigration stance have also seen a rise in the polls with the 200,000 places in Italian refugee centres already full.
In an attempt to combat the crisis, Serraj's five-point plan includes securing the southern border of Libya in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants from the rest of Africa. 
Also in the plan is to lift a UN arms embargo so that the coastguard can be more effective and putting more pressure on other African nations to take back migrants.  
 
Armed group stopping migrant boats setting off across the Mediterranean sparks sudden drop in departures this month 
An armed group is stopping migrant boats from setting off across the Mediterranean from a city west of Tripoli that has been a springboard for people smugglers, causing a sudden drop in departures over the past month, sources in the area said.
The revelation throws new light on the sharp reduction in migrant arrivals from Italy, which took over from the Aegean route as the main focus of European concerns in the crisis.
Arrivals in Italy from North Africa, the main route for migration to Europe this year, dropped by more than 50 percent in July from a year earlier, and August arrivals so far are down even further. July and August are peak months for migrant boats because of favourable sea conditions.
Sources in Sabratha, 70 km (45 miles) west of the capital, said the sudden drop had been caused by a new force in the seaside city, which is preventing migrants from leaving, often by locking them up.
The group in Sabratha 'works on the ground, the beach, to prevent the migrants leaving on boats towards Italy,' said a civil society organiser from the city, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Migrants sit at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, as they wait to be transported to a police station in Algeciras after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Migrants sit at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, as they wait to be transported to a police station in Algeciras after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The group is made up of several hundred 'civilians, policemen, army figures,' he said. It is conducting a 'very strong campaign' that was launched by a 'former mafia boss', said a second Sabratha source who follows smuggling activity closely.
A third source with contacts in Libya, who also asked not to be named, said the Sabratha group was making 'a significant effort to police the area'.
The two Sabratha sources said the group was running a detention centre for migrants who are turned back or taken from smugglers. 
One sent a picture of hundreds of migrants sitting in the sand in front of a high wall.
One of the sources said he thought the group was seeking legitimacy and financial support from Tripoli, where European states have tried to partner with a U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to stem migrant flows. 
An official from the interior ministry's department for combating illegal migration in Sabratha did not respond to a request for comment.
It was not possible to contact the group, which the third source said was called Brigade 48, although other sources did not confirm this.
Italy has been trying to bolster the GNA's ability to stop people smuggling with cash, training and by sending a ship to help repair Tripoli's coastguard and navy vessels. 
Some 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014, testing the country's ability to cope. More than 12,000 have died trying.
Some 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014, testing the country's ability to cope. More than 12,000 have died trying. Pictured here, Civil guard members carry an injured migrant to an ambulance at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, after being rescued with others in the Strait of Gibraltar 
Some 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014, testing the country's ability to cope. More than 12,000 have died trying. Pictured here, Civil guard members carry an injured migrant to an ambulance at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, after being rescued with others in the Strait of Gibraltar 
Most leave from Libya's western coast. Following a local backlash against smugglers in Zuwara in the west in 2015, Sabratha became the most frequently used departure point.
Italy wants to replicate a deal with Libya that the EU struck with Turkey last year, largely shutting down the migrant route through Greece and the Balkans.
With a national election looming during the first half of next year, the government in Rome is under pressure to show it can stop, or at least slow, migration.
But any progress in Libya is likely to be fragile, with the country in a state of conflict since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted six years ago. Rival governments are vying for power and local militias battle each other for territory and smuggling profits.
Last week Italy seized on the drop in arrivals, with Interior Minister Marco Minniti saying he saw a 'light at the end of the tunnel'.
Migrants rescued last week in the Mediterranean confirmed that conditions had changed in Sabratha, according to a spokesman at the International Organization for Migration, which interviewed migrants who arrived in Trapani, Sicily, on Saturday.
Refugees and migrants are seen swimming and yelling for assistance from crew members from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) 'Phoenix' vessel after a wooden boat bound for Italy carrying more than 500 people capsized on May 24, 2017 off Lampedusa, Italy
Refugees and migrants are seen swimming and yelling for assistance from crew members from the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) 'Phoenix' vessel after a wooden boat bound for Italy carrying more than 500 people capsized on May 24, 2017 off Lampedusa, Italy
'They said that it was very difficult to depart from Sabratha. 
'There are people stopping the boats before they set out, and if they get out to sea they're immediately sent back,' said Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesman in Rome. 
Some migrants were also turned back before reaching Sabratha, he said.
The European Union's border control agency Frontex last week said 'clashes in Sabratha' contributed to July's decline, also citing changeable weather and increased Libyan coastguard presence. 
The Sabratha sources were not aware of any clashes.
Another shift in recent weeks has been a clampdown on smuggling of Bangladeshi and North African migrants through Tripoli's Mitiga airport, after a militia that controlled the trade was forced out by a GNA-aligned armed group at the start of July, Libyan and European officials said.
But that, like a slowing of flows into Libya through Niger, might take time to take effect. Hundreds of thousands of migrants are already in Libya.
In Sabratha, the changes may not stick.
In the past, with no central authority to constrain them, smugglers have adapted and routes have shifted, as already is happening.
Last week smugglers moved departures to east of Tripoli, near Al Khoms, Chris Catrambone, co-founder of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) charity, told Reuters. Three large rubber boats set out from the east, he said, while only a small boat with 26 people was found west of Tripoli.
'The sea was like a lake last week and yet there were few boats,' Catrambone said.
Everyone on the Phoenix, a rescue vessel operated by MOAS, was taken aback because it was so unusual, he said.
The GNA has little control over armed groups in western Libya, including the capital, and none over factions that control the east of the country.
The civil society member from Sabratha said the new group there might stop working if it does not receive support from Tripoli.
The power of the smuggling networks would not be broken until there was a 'legitimate source of order' in Libya, said a senior diplomat, speaking of the change in Tripoli airport and comparing the situation to broken vase.
'In one corner we stuck it together, but everything else is in pieces.'

Non-EU migrants 'will stay at 155,000 a year': Report says immigration is 'unlikely to fall significantly' unless ministers introduce tougher measures

  • MigrationWatch said yearly migration from outside EU to stay 1,55,000 till 2012
  • That would be the equivalent of more than the population of Slough each year
  • Until Britain quits the EU, rules means it is a requirement to let in EU citizens






Mass immigration from outside Europe is ‘unlikely to fall significantly’ unless ministers introduce tough new measures, a report warns today.
The scope to tackle migration from non-EU nationals will be limited unless the Government takes ‘further and determined action’, according to a respected think-tank.
MigrationWatch said net migration from outside the Brussels bloc - those people arriving minus those leaving – was likely to run at 155,000 a year until 2021.
Mass immigration from outside Europe is ‘unlikely to fall significantly’ unless ministers introduce tough new measures, a report warns today
Mass immigration from outside Europe is ‘unlikely to fall significantly’ unless ministers introduce tough new measures, a report warns today
That would be the equivalent of more than the population of Slough – 146,000 – arriving from the rest of the world every 12 months for the next five years. It currently stands at 175,000 in the .
Until Britain finally quits the EU, controversial freedom of movement rules mean it is a requirement to let in the European citizens.
However, the Home Office does have the power to control the numbers coming from the rest of the world.
Measures to do this have included closing loopholes on student visas and raising the minumum income threshold for non-EU workers.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘Migration Watch UK has a remarkable record in estimating future migration'
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘Migration Watch UK has a remarkable record in estimating future migration'
But an analysis by MigrationWatch, which campaigns for controlled borders, predicted that between 2016 and 2021 net migration from non-EU citizens would average 155,000 annually. The report was published ahead of a new set of official migration statistics being published tomorrow THURS.
It based the findings on a series of major studies carried out by the Home Office of work, study and family visas issued between 2004 and 2010.
Researchers calculated how many recipients were still in the UK with permission to remain or had settled.
From this, they worked out that an estimated an average 85,000 of the 415,000 non-EU citizens handed visas each year from 2011 to 2016 would be in the UK after five years.
On top of this, MigrationWatch predicted 35,000 a year would overstay their visas and adjustments to official statistics would also add another 35,000 migrants a year – making a total of 155,000 a year.
At the same time, workers are also expected to pour in from EU nations fleeing stagnant eurozone economies with spiralling unemployment. Net migration from the EU was 133,000 last year.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of MigrationWatch, said: ‘Migration Watch UK has a remarkable record in estimating future migration.
Until Britain finally quits the EU, controversial freedom of movement rules mean it is a requirement to let in the European citizens
Until Britain finally quits the EU, controversial freedom of movement rules mean it is a requirement to let in the European citizens
‘We now say that, unless determined action is taken, it is extremely unlikely that non-EU migration will fall significantly in the next five years.
‘This should be a wake-up call for the government to take further action if overall net migration - after subtracting British emigration - is to be brought down to sustainable levels. Brexit should help considerably but further action on non-EU migration is essential.’
The continued influx has left egg on the face of the Government which made it a manifesto pledge to reduce numbers to the ‘tens of thousands’.
Failure to control the country’s porous borders was the spur for millions of people to vote for Brexit.
Soaring immigration has been blamed for contributing to dampened down wages in some low-skilled industries, such as agriculture and food processing, and kept British people out of jobs. It also heaped pressure on public services, including schools and healthcare, say critics.
Prime Minister Theresa May has restated the vow to cut net immigration to below 100,000 – but warned it could take more than four years. 

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