Italy Planning to Repatriate All North Africans from Lampedusa

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 7:46 pm (UTC-5)
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Italian authorities say they will clear all those they call illegal immigrants from Lampedusa island, after two days of fighting between police and North African migrants there.

Fifty-thousand migrants, mostly from Libya and Tunisia, have landed on the tiny Mediterranean island this year, seeking a better life in the European Union. They far outnumber the local population — many of whom say they want the migrants gone.

Italy's Interior Ministry is promising that all the migrants will be repatriated by the end of this week.

Riots between Lampedusa police and migrants raged for a second day Wednesday. The fighting broke out Tuesday when the North Africans burned down an immigration reception center because of the plans to send them back.

They were transferred to a sports field, where they reacted violently when locals threw stones at them.