Police officers patrol the tent camp of San Ferdinando in the province of Reggio Calabria. Some migrants at the facility hurled stones at officers last Saturday | Photo: ANSA
Police officers patrol the tent camp of San Ferdinando in the province of Reggio Calabria. Some migrants at the facility hurled stones at officers last Saturday | Photo: ANSA

Migrants at the tent camp of San Ferdinando in the southern province of Reggio Calabria on October 17 hurled stones at police officers guarding the area after the tent camp was declared a ''red zone'' by the Calabrian regional government. 15 residents had earlier tested positive for COVID-19.

Two police officers were wounded on October 17 after a group of migrants hurled stones at police officers guarding the tent camp of San Ferdinando in the province of Reggio Calabria housing some 260 immigrants of African origin who work in the fields of the plane of Gioia Tauro.

The protest started after the tent camp was declared a ''red zone'' by the region after 15 migrants tested positive for COVID-19. Some 30 residents at the camp were tested on a voluntary basis.

The two police officers were not seriously injured.

Migrants were protesting because they were not allowed to leave the settlement and go to work due to the lockdown enforced at the camp to prevent the spread of the virus.

During the chaos that followed the protest, two migrants fled the facility which is located near the industrial area of San Ferdinando.

Mayor expresses surprise and disappointment

The mayor of San Ferdinando, Andrea Tripodi, published a statement on behalf of the entire municipal administration expressing "dismay and outraged disappointment for the protest staged at the tent camp of San Ferdinando by a consistent group of migrants hosted at the facility."

"The protest, unexpected and sudden, ended with stone throwing against a police unit deployed to guard the red zone created to isolate contagion and guarantee the quarantine," the statement continued.

"A more dramatic outcome was avoided only thanks to the prompt, resolute and decided action of containment operated by police officers, coordinated on the ground by chief Diego Trotta."

The mayor thanked the officers on behalf of the administration, adding that they "often pay the price of distant or indifferent politics towards a phenomenon that is increasingly difficult and seriously dramatic."

Mayor urges government, regions to intervene

"What happened once again shows the widespread unease that, one the one hand, calls for a fast replacement of the tent camp of San Ferdinando" as a housing solution, as well as a "strategy to solve the dynamics of immigration across the plane" of Gioia Tauro.

"I ask once again and with renewed energy to the central government and the regional institution to intervene to govern the complexity of a phenomenon that can turn into a resource but which can also generate violent and anti-democratic drifts," concluded the mayor.

 

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