Afghan migrants were doing laundry not far from Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, the 'heart' of Trieste (Pictured) | Photo: ANSA/STEFANO MIHELJ
Afghan migrants were doing laundry not far from Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, the 'heart' of Trieste (Pictured) | Photo: ANSA/STEFANO MIHELJ

There has been a public outcry in Trieste, in Italy's northeastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, after migrants were photographed bathing and washing their clothes at a pier in the center of the city. The city mayor called it ''endless degradation''.

Three Afghan migrants were photographed by passersby while they were bathing and then washing their clothes and then hanging them on a pier not far from Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia in central Trieste. The photos were posted on social media. The migrants allegedly told police that ''we thought it was a pool''. 

Mayor lashes out at the 'endless degradation' 

''We had just arrived. This is our first day here. We didn't know that it was prohibited,'' one of the three told local broadcaster Tele4. ''We just wanted to take a shower and wash our clothes because they were very dirty. We didn't know that we couldn't do so.'' 

''We arrived from Croatia,'' added another one of the young men. ''We will go to the police to request asylum and find reception facilities to understand whether they will send us somewhere to sleep.'' 

On the issue of migrants bathing and washing their clothes in the port, Trieste mayor Roberto Dipiazza said that ''we are used to everything with them. There is no end to this type of degradation. On the other hand, these are people who have not been taught as we have.'' 

Regional prefects meet to discuss transfers 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday a meeting was held in the Trieste government building between the prefects of the four provinces of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region to discuss how to proceed as concerns migrants. 

Since the beginning of July, they said, asylum seekers in the region fell from 3,381 to 2,849 and 580 have been transferred to other regions: over a quarter of the 2,000 established by the interior ministry. It was noted that there is no overcrowding in reception facilities and that they are able to deal with the needs of those arriving. 

"Today," Trieste prefect Valerio Valenti said, ''we drew up and a new plan that runs through September 10 and that thus covers the 'hottest' period.'' 

In Gradisca d'Isonzo, another reception center will soon be finished for those waiting to be sent back to their countries of origin. By the end of the week, Valenti said, the works will be completed and only the surveillance system will need to be adapted prior to handing the structure over. It will thus be ready for use by early September. the center will flank one for asylum seekers. Valenti said that there will not be any problem regarding the co-existence of the two facilities.

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