Refugee women forced out of Italian town after locals block streets

Around 200 residents of Gorino and neighbouring Goro chanted anti-immigrant slogans

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 26 October 2016 08:25 BST
Refugee women forced out of Italian town after locals block streets

A small group of refugee women and children were forced to leave a town in northern Italy after locals barricaded the road chanting “we don’t want them here”.

The town of Gorino in Ferrara was asked to accommodate 12 women, one of whom was pregnant, and eight minors who were with them.

As a coach arrived to take the refugees to a publicly-owned hostel, more than 200 locals turned out to block the road with bins, and planks of wood. Gorino itself has a population of only around 500, though some protesters are thought to have come from the larger neighbouring town of Gore.

The refugees had a police escort, but there was no violence, and the mayor of Ferrara has said the women and children will be given homes in other parts of the region.

A local official for the anti-immigrant Lega Nord (Northern League) hailed the protesters as “heroes of the resistance against the tyranny of acceptance”.

But many more in Ferrara and across the country condemned their actions, led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

“Goro and Gorino, perhaps there could have been better communication from the state, but the Italy I know walks the extra mile to accommodate 11 women and eight children,” he wrote on Twitter (initial reports said there were 11 women, not 12).

The Prime Minister’s tweet referred to a complaint from the manager of the hostel where the refugees were to be placed in Gorino, the “Love and Nature Hotel”, that the rooms required had already been booked by tourists.

On Tuesday afternoon, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told the La7 radio station: "We can find all the excuses we want, but this is not Italy.

“Italy is the young people of Naples who help the rescuers on the pier when migrants arrive, or the Lampedusa doctor Pietro Bartolo," he said, referring to a doctor who helps migrant arrivals in Sicily.

The group of women and children will now be split up and sent to larger towns, including the picturesque city of Comacchio and Ferrara itself.

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