Protesters during a demonstration against government policies ask to 'open ports' in Naples | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO
Protesters during a demonstration against government policies ask to 'open ports' in Naples | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO

Seven people have been placed under investigation for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration in support of the Sea Watch and Sea Eye migrant rescue ships on January 5 . Among those being investigated is city councilor Eleonora de Majo. The probe has sparked a controversy.

Seven activists from the social center Insurgentia in Naples have been formally placed under investigation for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration at the city's port on January 5. Nearly 10,000 people took part in the demonstration, asking authorities to allow 80 migrants - including women and children - who were aboard rescue vessels Sea Watch and Sea Eye to disembark. 

The probe was made public by Naples city councilor Eleonora de Majo, who is among the seven placed under investigation. 

Councilor defends herself

De Majo, who opposes the government's decision to close ports to migrants, called the probe a "paradox," saying that activists were "defending humanity." 

The demonstration on January 5, which ended peacefully, "registered the participation of thousands of people, simple citizens, anti-racist associations, committees and members of civil society," the councilwoman said. 

Naples mayor expresses solidarity 

The mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, expressed solidarity to the "militants, activists and councilor Eleonora de Majo," adding that they were "witnesses of justice and not perpetrators of a crime - the crime of humanity cannot be tried." The mayor went on to say that when the demonstration was organized, Naples was "on the frontline" in the fight "to prevent dozens of people from dying at sea".De Magistri belongs to a left-leaning party coalition. Many politicians - in particular from the Left - oppose the hardline policies of right-wing populist interior minister Matteo Salvini aimed at halting immigration to Italy and reducing the number of migrants in the country. This includes a refusal to let migrant rescue vessels dock in Italy.  
 

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