News from Lampedusa - a personal report

Lampedusa is the very first place where migrants land after their difficult journey from north Africa. From here they are sent to several detention centers in Italy.

A new centre is going to be open in the next days in a residence in Mineo, close to Catania (Sicily) in what used to be a residence for NATO employees!

It seems that up to now about 8000 migrants have arrived from Tunisia.

At the moment there are probably about 1400 migrants in the Lampedusa detention center (there is barely space for 800!)

What follows is a personal account of an NoBorder activist's journey to Lampedusa.

Revolt in detention centre in Italy, 11/10/10

On Monday afternoon, 102 immigrants including 30 Algerians escaped from the Elmas detention centre in Cagliari, Sardinia. According to the Italian media, the revolt started when some of the detainees refused to be transferred to a closed detention centre (CIE) whilst 40 of them were able to get out of the centre onto the adjacent runway, causing the closure of the airport for the whole day. The police came en masse to recapture the migrants. 10 were arrested and taken to prison in Cagliari and two who were injured were hospitalised.

Italy: Rome immigration prison set on fire by detainees

«Total chaos!» At midnight on 30th March 2010, this text message was sent from one of the detainees inside Ponte Galeria, the immigration prison in Rome, Italy.

An hour prior to the text, a riot inside the detention centre had started: mattresses were burnt and two huge fires reached the infirmary. Some of the detainees were on the roof, while others broke three or four doors and reached the outer fence. The detention centre was soon full of riot police. Gunshots were heard around 1.20am.

There riot has allegedly caused EUR 200,000 worth of damage; a hydraulic and electric system was put out of order; four people escaped and an unknown number of detainees were moved to other detention centres, while 17 were arrested. They are due in court on 31st March.

News from around the World: 

Solidarity with the Migrants in Lampedusa, Protest in London

there will be a picket of the Italian Embassy in London in solidarity with the migrants on hungers strike and with the residents of Lampedusa , in struggle against the island being turned into one huge concentration camp for immigrants. Called by No Borders London and supported by No Borders UK groups, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, SOAS Detainee Support Group, National Coalition of Anit-Deportation Campaigns, Campaign Against Immigration Controls, No One Is Illegal.

Lampedusa centre on fire

This morning in Lampedusa, the southern island of Europe, a revolt
started in the "Centre for identification and expulsion", following the
hunger strike of 300 detainees from Tunisia. The detention center hosts
more than 800 migrants, mostly from Tunisia. The fire destroyed most of
the building and the police had to fight the revolt with extra smoke
(teargas), it is yet unknown the number of people harmed.

Italy: Mass escapes and protests in Lampedusa

Nearly 2000 persons were crammed in a centre that can barely contain 850, after a series of arrivals of boats from the African coast. People were locked behind gates and many were sleeping out in the rain because of overcrowding. The Interior Minister Maroni refused to move them to other structures operating in Italy, insisting they must be processed and eventually deported directly from Lampedusa, the small island south of Sicily that is the first point of arrival for many migrants, especially since increased immigration controls at the Spansh border have changed the migration routes. (updated 27 jan 2009)

Stop Racist Government Attacks on Roma People in Italy

12 Noon Friday 3rd October 2008

Demonstrate at the Italien Tourist Board
1 Princes Street, London W1B 2AY(near Oxford Circus)