After nine migrants fled an asylum center in northwestern Italy, local politicians are calling on the Rome government to take "immediate measures to put an end to an emergency situation." They claim the migrants pose a "risk for public health and safety."
A total of 76 migrants were transferred last week to a refugee center in Castello d'Annone in the province of Asti, located in northwestern Italy. Nine of them subsequently fled the center.
In a letter to the Italian interior minister, four local officials complained about the incident and called for a stop to migrant transfers to their region.
"Less than 24 hours after the arrival of the new group of migrants sent by the government, some have fled, as feared, despite 24-hour surveillance by the Asti prefecture and police," Piedmont Governor Alberto Cirio said in the letter sent to the interior minister late last week. Cirio signed the letter along with Deputy Governor Fabio Carosso, Safety Councillor Fabrizio Ricca, and Civil Protection Councillor Marco Gabusi.
Demand: Stop migrant transfers
The situation is an "emergency that puts health and public safety under serious stress in the area," the four men wrote. They said the migrants' escape had caused "great tension and a sense of insecurity among Piedmont citizens."
They called on the interior ministry to take "immediate measures to put an end to an emergency situation".
They also claimed that the Rome government had broken a promise to stop all transfers of migrants to their region. They said no migrants should be transferred to Piedmont, because the region "could no longer accommodate them."
Letter signatories Cirio, Carosso and Ricca are affiliated with the far-right, anti-migration League party, while Gabusi belongs to the center-right Forza Italia party.
Meanwhile, the Rome government is run by a center-left coalition, lead by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and center-left Democratic Party.