Arrests in crane protest
Four immigrant workers who are refusing to come down from a 35-metre crane in Brescia [Lombardy] threw pieces of concrete and plastic bottles containing urine onto police patrols below at the weekend. The immigrants have been on the crane since October 30th and have been on hunger strike since Saturday.
They are protesting about the difficulty they are having in obtaining the permesso di soggiorno or residency permit which they need in order to work legally in Italy. They say that last year’s new immigration law, which made illegal immigration a crime, has made it impossible for them to obtain the permits, although they have already paid a lot of money in the hope of their being granted. They also say that it is not fair that a recent amnesty allowed domestic workers – mainly cleaners and carers – to obtain permits whilst manual workers did not benefit from the initiative.
The protest has divided the citizens of Brescia - the city with the highest population of immigrants in Italy – and on Saturday there were arrests as locals clashed with police. The Mayor of Brescia says that the immigrants are not helping their case by staging the protest but the left-wing Governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola, says that immigrants are used as convenient labour but are ignored when they demand their rights.
On Saturday 3,000 people in Bologna protested in support of immigrants demanding their rights and in Milan a group of immigrants have been refusing to come down from a tower crane in via Imbonati since November 4th. Supporters on the ground are sending food up to them at regular intervals.
Do you sympathise with the immigrants or do you agree with the Mayor?