Italian police clear refugee camp on French border

Italian police forcibly remove refugees on Italian side of Italy-France border

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

An African refugee is pulled away by Italian police after protesting in the town of Ventimiglia after being refused entry into France.

Italian police and security forces forcibly cleared a refugee camp on Ventimiglia, on the Italian side of the Italy- France border, on Wednesday.

Almost 100 refugees in Ventimiglia, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea who call the area home since June, are accused of using water and electricity without paying, a policeman said.

Italy alone has registered at least 120,000 refugees landing on its shores since the start of this year, as the destination for Europe-bound refugee boats.

After police intervention, Angeino Alfano, Interior Minister of Italy evaluated the situation and refugee crisis in Europe as a “punch in the face to all the European countries that want to close their eyes to the migrant crisis.”

According to media reports, refugees tried to cross the border deliberately and interfered by the police. Red Cross assisted the police while refugees were loaded on a bus and were transferred to the Ventimiglia’s train station. 

Police Intervention

Police Chief Giuseppe Maggese said that the police arrived at the camp at approximately 6:30 am. Then the refugees’ tents and personal belongings were removed by bulldozers. After police intervention some refugees tried to jump into the sea, and some others said “"we want freedom to cross the border” in English.

After being rounded up by the Italian police, the refugees were then forced on to buses away from the area [Reuters]

"They have to move, I'm not sure at the moment where they'll be taken... but this situation could not go on. We understand why they are protesting but the camp was illegal," Enrico Loculano, city manager of Ventimiglia said.

Ventimiglia has witnessed some of the critical scenes of Europe’s refugee crisis since the beginning of this year.

Being part of the EU's Schengen zone, border controls are at the least in France and Italy.

TRTWorld and agencies