A Carabinieri police car | Photo: Carabinieri/ANSA
A Carabinieri police car | Photo: Carabinieri/ANSA

The police union in Milan has called for assistance for officers at city's police headquarters, where crowds of people gather every day to file asylum requests. Growing tensions between police and foreigners recently led to tear gas being used.

Pietro Randazzo, provincial secretary of the SILP CGIL police union of Milan, has criticized that security issues at the Milan branch of the police immigration section have not been resolved. 

"The continuing of this situation is unacceptable," he said, noting that the issues had previously been brought to the general attention by the union and that problems at the center had been reported in the media. 

On Monday (January 23), officers used tear gas against people in front of the center -- police said the goal was to restore order among the hundreds of people waiting to present their files for international protection at the headquarters for police (questura) which handles such requests.

According to local media reports, there were some 700 migrants waiting, and a small group of people reportedly cut the line after waiting for several hours. Migrants from all over Italy reportedly come to the Milan police branch every week to get an appointment.

Union calls for 'urgent intervention' 

"There is the need for urgent intervention to resolve a situation that has been in place for too long," Randazzo said.

"Efforts are needed from everyone -- the police headquarters, and both the local and national political classes -- since men and women in uniform should not be left alone to deal with the immigration emergency," the union leader said, warning that "the situation may become explosive." 

Hundreds of people in area not adequately equipped 

"What was previously simply a green area next to the third mobile unit has become an [improvised camp] where hundreds of people crowd in beginning from the night before [the office opens] in the hope -- many times in vain -- of being able to get access to the counters of the immigration office to be able to file their requests," Randazzo said. 

"This daily gathering of people in an area that is not properly equipped inevitably creates problems related to public order as well as public health. Only three portable bathrooms are available for hundreds of people. There are also risks connected with the lighting of makeshift fires for warmth during the winter nights," he said. 


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