The 'black sardines' protest in Naples | Photo: ANSA/Ciro Fusco
The 'black sardines' protest in Naples | Photo: ANSA/Ciro Fusco

Over 200 members of the migrants and refugees movement in Naples, Italy, held a protest on Saturday. They fashioned themselves after the left-leaning 'sardines' protest movement.

Migrants and refugees in Italy are now holding their own 'sardines' protests - as 'black sardines.' In Italy, the 'sardines' are a left-leaning, grass-roots movement targeting Italy's far-right politician Matteo Salvini and populism in general. 

On December 7, the 'black sardines' made their debut in Naples when over 200 people held a march to demand that procedural times be sped up for the recognition of international protection and that stay permits be issued. 

The migrant protesters started their march at the main police station, where a brief sit-in was held while a delegation took part in a meeting with police representatives. The protesters held banners not only against former interior minister and former deputy prime minister Salvini, butb also against current interior minister Luciana Lamorgese. 

'Our lives can't wait any longer' 

"Governments and interior ministers change but policies against migrants, refugees, and the weakest parts of the population do not," said an activist. "Our lives cannot wait any longer. We are taking to the streets to demand the immediate abrogation of the security decrees and against the procedures of the immigration office of the Naples police station, which through this bureaucratic mechanism are continuing to keep the lives of hundreds of people in limbo and which do not ensure that those requesting international protection have access to the institute of international protection, as is guaranteed by the constitution and the laws in force."

Protesting for stay permits 

Having stay permits, one organizer of the protests said, "means being able to access the healthcare system, education, recognition of children. It means having the chance to lead a life with dignity and not being condemned to live like ghosts in the ghettos of our cities.'" 

"Who are the Black Sardines? They are all those sardines that have not been able to protest in Italian squares in the past few weeks, since they are considered different from the other sardines," reads a statement posted on the Facebook page of local activist group Je so' pazzo. 

One of the people from Je so' pazzo, Chiara Capretti, told ANSA that "though there have been announcements of wanting to change the security decree, it has been seen that there is no political will to deal with the problem. In Italy, some 20,000 people have had their stay permits rejected because of the decree. But those who requested humanitarian protection prior to the issuing of the decree have the right to protection, as was established by the Court of Cassation. The law is not retroactive." 

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