Pope appeals for respect for migrants rights after Italy begins clampdown on Romanians
Pope Benedict yesterday urged the Italian authorities to respect migrants rights, after the government begun arresting Romanians, deporting those they said were a 'danger to public safety' and bulldozing several shantytowns in which Romanian migrants lived.
Right-wing opposition leaders have been calling for tough measures against migrants, following a number of crimes allegedly committed by Romanians. On October 30, the wife of an Italian navy commander was fatally beaten and thrown into a ditch near a Gypsy camp. A Romanian man who lived in the camp was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.
The next day, Premier Prodi's cabinet held an emergency session to push through a decree authorizing the expulsion of EU citizens deemed dangerous,
On Friday Milan put four Romanians on a plane to Bucharest because they had criminal records. Other expulsions, by Milan, Rome, Turin, Genoa and other cities, were expected.
That night, a gang of Italians using knifes and clubs wounded three Romanian men in a supermarket parking lot in Rome.
Addressing pilgrims in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father said: "I hope relations between migrant populations and local populations take place in the spirit of the high moral civilization that is the fruit of the spiritual and cultural values of every population and country.
"May those who deal with security and welcoming programs know how to use instruments aimed at guaranteeing the rights and duties that are at the foundations of every true coexistence and encounter between peoples," he said.
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