Among the young people taken to the police, and then immediately let go, were various Nigerians and Gambians, some of them with international or humanitarian protection, others having been left outside the CARA* at Mineo after having received a negative result from the Territorial Commission and are now in the process of appealing, and are thus legally present in Italy.
All of them have found themselves sleeping in a run-down building due to the daily failure of the reception system, a building which offered them only a minimum of peace. This is a situation which needed to be confronted through activating social services and finding a dignified alternative. Instead, chased out by the local authority, they have been left only with the street and a criminal charge for occupying, simply aggravating an already precarious situation.
It is clear that after years of crisis and cuts to local bodies, in which local councils can no longer guarantee essential services, and in which there are so many needs to be met, politicians are searching to legitimise the situation with vacuous and symbolic concepts such as security, decay, decorum and legality.
And it is thus that they evict the homeless without worrying about the implications or alternatives, just as they chase away the car cleaners and street sellers. These are scenes which we see periodically repeated in this country, where for years now problems which deserve very different measures and activities are met in terms merely of repression and public order. But it is precisely for this reason that we already know what the effects will be: greater marginality and more pockets of irregularity which simply worsen already complex situations. It is in this very moment that institutional agents ought react to the widening xenophobia by recognising peoples rights and guaranteeing them respect, instead of limiting them to attempts at following the populist tendencies which, little by little, risk bringing us right up to a chasm out of which it will be increasingly difficult to climb.
Project "OpenEurope" - Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus