Detention centre's central building destroyed by fire during riots. The police prevents the immigrants from leaving the burning centre. Many suffer from smoke inhalation. 60 migrants may be injuried.
[20. Feb 2009] There is a lack of precise news, but up to 80 people may have been injuried in the riots and fire of the centre - 20 policemen and 60 immigrants. According to one resident, only 10 migrants, more seriusly injuried, have been seen in the island's poliambulatory, and no policemen. The rest of the immigrants have been kept locked in the centre or transferred to other detention centres, without anyone being able to see them or ascertain their conditions.
The protest of the Tunisians threatened with deportation has continued in Milano, Rome and Torino, where they are continuing the hunger strike as well as other acts of revolt like overturning beds and rubbish bins. Other detainees have joined the protes and local activists have organised initiatives in their support outiside the detention centres.
About 500 immigrants are believed to be still in the damaged centre in Lampedusa, that before the fire had an operating capacity of 460, to be extended in emergency to 800.
The protest of the residents in Lampedusa continues and tensions run high, although the resident are still keeping to peaceful and lawful means of protest.
Lampedusa: humanitarian emergency
translated from :: calabria.indymedia.org (with links)
[18. Feb 2009] For some time the idea has been put forward that is necessary to militarize the detention centres for immigrants (CPT). At present the situation in the CPT of Lampedusa has beceme unbearable. Since well known episodes that have been the island's citiziens enter a general strike, there have been numerous escapes of migrants frome these places of detention, not to mention suicide attempts. All epsiodes that add to the clashes with police that have also involved island's natives, mistaken for immigrants by police and so even 'deserving', according with the hard line adopted by the government against the latests, to be hit with truncheons.
At the same time deportations towards Tunisia have begun, and the lives of about a hundred women were put at risk when a fire broke out in the ex- NATO base Loran, where they had been transferred due to the overcrowding and appalling conditions in the centre.
In the meantime the judiciary in Agrigento has began an inquest about alleged irregolarities in the reception centres in Lampedusa. However judiciary action does not compare with mounting popular indignation against these inhumane centres of detention and appeals, petitions, mobilisations, solidarity grow.
The situation gets totally out of hand with a revolt of the migrants starting the 17th February. The centre of Lampedusa, not in line with the fire regulations, goes easily up in flames. The mayor of Lampedusa denounce the dangerous situation and asks for the resignation of the minister Maroni. Look at the video: http://www.c6.tv/archivio?id=3017
[19 Feb 2009] Moved during the night 180 immigrants that were in the Lampedusa centre. They were transported by two flight to Gorizia and Cagliari.
[19 Feb 2009] Other 130 immigrants 'guests' in the reception centre of Lampedusa were transferred to other structrues.
20 Tuinsians were transferred to the Cie (centre of identification and expulsion) of Torino.
[19 Feb 2009] More than twenty the immigrants who have been investigated by Agrigento police. The police are looking at the camera footage from the videocameras installed in the centre to identify those who took part in yesterday's uprising to proceed to set fire to the central building of the centre.
Communiqe from the police trade union:
Roma, 18 Feb 2009 - The facts of Lampedusa "cannot be defined as incidents" because the revolt that erupded in the Cie (centre of identification and expulsion) "is the logic consequence of a series of concurring causes" and than "who has mistaken should take all responsibilities". This is what has declared the police trade union (Siulp) underlining that, once again, "to pay a very high price" has been the police force. "Immigration cannot continue to be managed just such as a public order problem." Furthermore, the choice of Lampedusa as the place for a reception centre "has been a wrong choice from the beginning", without considering that the centre "has been tranformed in a ghetto, with twice as many guests as the maximum capacity, and the immigrants have touched with their own hand the limit of their desperation."
"This means that the immigrants have not being given a reception, but rather stacked like merchanidse in spaces that are insufficient and unsuitable: today this mixture has exploded." Policemen, carabinierei and custom officers in Lampedusa "for moths have been obliged to do double and treble work shifts in one day only, without payment for the overtime".
"Fast deterioration of the situation of 'boat people' in Lampedusa must be halted,"
according to Parliamentary Assembly Committee Chair
Strasbourg, 20. Feb 2009 - "The fast deterioration of the situation of 'boat people' in Lampedusa must be halted immediately", said Mrs Corien Jonker, Chair of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), talking on the margins of a seminar on migration organised by the French Red Cross in collaboration with the Council of Europe.
"We are deeply concerned by the overcrowding and worsening conditions in the identification and expulsion centre dealing with irregular migrants and asylum seekers in Lampedusa. This has lead to violent confrontations between the detainees and the law enforcement bodies and has now resulted in over 60 wounded persons following Wednesday's fire in the centre. I urge the Italian authorities to return to the practice of forwarding these 'boat people' to other parts of Italy for processing in order to diminish the overcrowding in Lampedusa. It cannot be expected that the small island can cope with more than 30,000 people arriving annually on its shores."
http://www.youreporter.it/video_Video_inchiesta_a_Lampedusa_tra_gli_immigrati (inside camp before fire)
more Videos: http://www.youreporter.it/search.php?q=lampedusa
Deaths at the doors of Europe, Jan 2009:
More articles (in italian):
This article was published first on 20. Feb 2009 @ :: indymedia.org.uk