Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ IGOR PETYX
Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando. PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ IGOR PETYX

Several mayors in Italy have joined forces against the anti-migration policies of far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

A clash between Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and center-left and left-leaning mayors on the minister's recent security and migrant decree continued on Thursday. Salvini said the mayors would have to change their allegedly lenient ways regarding migrants as the SeaWatch3, a migrant ship that has been seeking landfall for over a week, seeks permission to dock.

Mayors of Naples, Palermo clash with Salvini

Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando said his rebelling against Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's allegedly ''inhuman'' migrant security decree had been ''a dutiful institutional act."

Orlando and other left-leaning mayors including Dario Nardellla in Florence and Luigi De Magistris in Naples have said they will not implement articles in the decree which allegedly strip migrants of access to basic services, such as health care. They say the decree may allegedly eject thousands from the reception system, creating potential criminals.

Orlando went on to say that he would turn to a judge to raise the issue of whether the decree complies with the Italian Constitution. He said he hoped raising the issue at a judicial level would lead to the Constitutional Court examining the decree.

Salvini urged civil disobedience

Decaro Bari mayor Antonio Decaro, head of the Italian municipalities association ANCI, on Thursday noted that Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in the past called for the kind of civil disobedience he is now condemning over his migrant security decree. Decaro noted that ''a short while ago, before becoming minister, he himself blatantly urged mayors to disobey a State law, that on civil unions'' and ''now he is threatening mayors'' for doing the same thing, said the ANCI chief.

Decaro noted that the new rules on migrants and security placed mayors in a position of ''objective difficulty'' and said he did not want to feed the clash with Salvini.

Salvini says ports closed to NGO ships

Salvini reiterated that Italian ports were closed to NGO migrant rescue ships after the mayors' pledges. ''Italian ports are closed, we have already accepted too many fake refugees, we have enriched too many migrant smugglers,'' he said. ''Let the leftwing mayors think of their citizens in difficulty, not about clandestine migrants."

The "party is over" for some leftwing mayors who allegedly benefited from migrant reception business, Salvini went on to say. ''With the (Democratic Party) it was chaos and clandestine migrants, with the League it is order and respect,'' said the leader of the anti-migrant League party.

"Certain mayors look back fondly on the good old times of immigration, but for them too the party is over."

EC in touch with member States to find landing spot, spokesman

The European Commission has been in touch with some member States to find landing spots for the 32 migrants on board NGO rescue ship Sea watch, an EC spokesman said Thursday, adding that the contacts also concerned another ship, Sea Eye.

The spokesman said Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos ''directly contacted member States in the last few days''. He said the commissioner "is asking member States to help this joint effort to disembark those on board safely and as soon as possible."


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