ITALY: NGOS knock at the door of Minister Toninelli. The police clears up

On 11 July, the Group of citizens Baobab reported that the police prevented from bringing food and water to the activist pacifically protesting in front of the Ministry of Transports in Rome.

(Translated from GiornalettismoYesterday, over 50 activists were chained at the entrance to the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport (MIT), head of the Coast Guard and responsible for managing the rescues in the Mediterranean. 

“We are outraged by the policies of the government that, with the connivance of the EU, are knowingly and guiltily leaving more and more people drowned in the Central Mediterranean, when they are not returned to the Libyan hell by force by the patrol boats donated to Libya by Italy itself”, commented the activists holding the banner #NAUFRAGIDISTATO.

NGOs involved in sea rescue, Sea-Watch and Open Arms, joined the initiative with a delegation from the #RestiamoUmani network, which was joined by the + Europa deputy Riccardo Magi. They requested a meeting with Minister Toninelli, without success: the owner of the Dicastery was not even available for a telephone contact aimed at setting a moment of future comparison. The delegation requested to speak with the political head of the Ministry but was received by the Head of the Press Office of the Minister, in the presence of a Commander of the Italian Coast Guard. The delegation reported the critical issues of current politics, underlining the responsibilities of the previous government. The lawfulness of the declarations of the closure of Italian ports has been contested.

“We have requested the access to official documents on the basis of denied access to Italian ports to Open Arms, only for a technical stop: there is no evidence that there are existing documents to justify such an initiative”, explains Alfonsi, the head of the NGO in Italy. “Why the same endless inspections and checks to rescuing NGOs are not applied to Libyan assets?” Asks Linardi from Sea-Watch. The delegation concluded by recalling the Dicastery to its competence: to ensure that Italy does not become responsible of drowning in the sea, by restricting the possibility for civilian and non-European structures to save lives. This is an institutionalization of the crime of negligence.

After the failed meeting, the activists continued the assembly until 3:00 pm when the police intervened and, with the help of the fire brigade, severed the chains with which the people were tied up and took them out of the Ministry.

Credit cover photo: Ruben Neugebauer / SeaWatch