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Italy residents set fire to beds in anti-migrant protest

Map Of Italy

Map Of Italy

Residents in Treviso in northern Italy set mattresses on fire Friday in a bid to stop the local government from housing a hundred immigrants, media reported.

Authorities plan to accommodate 101 immigrants in empty apartments in the village of Quinto, but several angry residents broke into one of the buildings, removed camp beds, mattresses and televisions intended for the newcomers and set them on fire outside.

The protesters then put up tents, with the Corriere della Sera newspaper quoting them as saying: “We aren’t going home until they leave — this is an invasion.”

Italy is currently hosting more than 80,000 migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean fleeing war, persecution or poverty in the Middle East and Africa. The arrivals include many Africans, particularly Eritreans, as well as Syrians.

Luca Zaia, the president of Italy’s Veneto region and a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, told Italian television he agreed with the protesters, and complained about the ‘Africanisation’ of his own region.

But Treviso prefect Maria Augusta Marrosu said: “They are staying, because they don’t have the choice.”

Graffiti sprayed on the side of a building in Quinto said in large red letters: “Prefect Marrosu, take them home.”

Italy’s resources are being severely stretched by the influx of migrants. The interior ministry wants to share the burden across regions, but in many cases local governments do not have adequate facilities to host them, particularly in the north.

Lombardy, Italy’s richest region, is hosting nine percent of the migrants, while Veneto is hosting four percent and Liguria two percent. Sicily is currently accommodating 22 percent of the arrivals, according to official figures released in June.

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