World Bulletin / News Desk
Thirteen Moroccan migrants held in a reception centre in Rome for more than two months have sewed their mouths shut in protest at the length of their detention, police and campaigners said on Sunday.
Italy has struggled to absorb thousands of immigrants in recent years, many of them fleeing the civil war inSyria and travelling through North Africa to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on flimsy boats. More than 40,000 arrived last year.
The issue has become a political battleground. Rights groups have complained about the conditions in centres while the anti-immigration Northern League has attacked the government, saying it was being too generous to new arrivals, especially at a time of recession.
The thirteen, who arrived in October and were taken to the Ponte Galeria centre the following month, sewed their mouths shut on Saturday night, repeating a protest they staged at the end of last year, said police.
"They've been left in complete uncertainty, no-one has explained anything to them," said Gabriella Guido, spokeswoman for LasciateCIEntrare, a protest group set up to highlight the tough conditions in the migrant reception centres.
Guido, who spoke to the men late on Saturday, said there was a tense climate in the centres, which were only designed for short stays. "They are under stress, angry and they've lost faith. This is the only form of protest they have."
"It's one thing if you have to put up with it for a month or so, it's very different when it's eight, nine months without any sign of when it's going to end," she added.
Their earlier demonstration coincided with a video released online showing migrants standing naked in the cold while they were sprayed for scabies.
Campaigners say most migrants want to go to other European countries but can find themselves stuck in limbo in Italy.
On Sunday, Northern League Senator Massimo Bitonci said the migrants were being treated over generously in comparison with Italians struggling in the recession.
"In a country where there are no resources you wonder what services the interior minister has had to cut to provide this benefit to the migrants," he said in a statement.
His groups has opposed moves by the coalition government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta to lift criminal penalties on people caught entering the country without authorization.
The PM said he was confident that a crucial EU-IMF reforms audit could conclude despite certain "absurd" demands.
President-elect expected to formally announce choice as early as next week
Republicans on Saturday rejected news reports about a secret CIA assessment finding that Russia sought to tip the US election in Trump's favor.
UN Security Council demands Gambia's Jammeh hand over power
Increased aggressiveness against ISIL could lead to heightened danger at home. Her message comes as Germany and its allies seek new ways to counter radicalism.
Worshippers were attending ordination for church’s founder
Arshad al-Salihi says only Turkey helped thousands of Turkmen who fled Iraq's Tal Afar to Syria's Azaz district
A young Muslim woman who was assaulted by three drunk men on the NY subway last week was reported missing and has now been located
Protesters demand Labour leader to say more on humanitarian aid in Syria
"The Colombian peace agreement is a ray of hope in a world troubled by so many conflicts and so much intolerance," he said.
Jerome Starkey of The Times was detained at airport without charge
John Kerry has said that the Syrian regime guilty of 'crimes against humanity, war crimes': Kerry
Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility for attack which took place at Somali military base near Mogadishu
On September 22, 1979, the American Vela 6911 satellite designed to detect nuclear tests from orbit, observed a curious double flash originating near the Prince Edward Islands off the coast of Antarctica in the southern Atlantic.
PM Cazeneuve cites concerns over terrorist threats as France holds presidential and parliamentary elections next year
Many incoming cabinet members have railed against the worker protections and environmental and corporate regulations that President Barack Obama has enacted.