It has emerged that on Friday the 23rd over 700 migrants being incarcerated at a detention centre in Lampedusa, a small island south of Sicily, tore down the centre’s gates and escaped.
The centre, which is intended to hold no more than 850 people, had inside at the time over 2000 migrants. Video evidence clearly shows that the conditions inside were massively overcrowded and appaulingly unclean. Groups such as Amnesty International and Save the Children have also highlighted possible human rights violations inflicted upon detainees, and denounced the actions of the local authorities.
The situation was further heated the following day with mass protests by migrants and local citizens alike calling for the abolishment of the centre. Some 4000 people took part in the demonstration outside the islands’ Town Hall. Escaped detainees joined in with chants of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Help Us’.
In another incident, a crowd of protesting citizens stopped a bus of 110 migrants destined for the detention centre.
According to the blog Fortress Europe: ” At least 1,502 migrants have died at the gates of EU in 2008. The figures decreased by 23% compared to 2007, but not in Sicily, where the number of the victims rose from 556 in 2007 to 642 in 2008, coherently with an increase of 80% of the arrivals in Lampedusa.”
Thanks to Indymedia Rome for the info.
The video shows the conditions the migrants are forced to live in, and also has clips of the march from the centre.