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Raffaele Scarinzi said there were too many migrants in his town
Raffaele Scarinzi, the mayor of Vitulano, ordered bags of sand to be dumped in the streets to block any new arrivals from coming to the town in southern Italy.
Vitulano currently has one SPRAR (System for the Protection of Refugees and Asylum Seekers) centre which houses 30 migrants.
But the mayor claimed there were not enough facilities set up to accommodate any more people and “too many” migrants arriving in the town.
Vitulano currently houses 30 migrants in one SPRAR
The protest saw the only access route to the accommodation blocked so immigrants could not reach the hostel where refugees were supposed to sleep.
Mr Scarinzi said: "Regarding immigrants, the state must respect the agreements and rules made with local authorities.
“Municipalities that already host one Sprar (refugee protections scheme) can not accommodate other immigrants in privately operated structures.”
The protest came after the arrival of an extra 40 refugees as the migrant crisis continues, and following the closure of the Our Lady of Health community centre.
Migrants Rescued in the Mediterranean Tue, January 3, 2017
Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue all 112 on aboard, including two pregnant women and five children, as it drifts out of control in the central Mediterranean Sea, some 36 nautical miles off the Libyan coast January 2, 2017
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Migrants try to reach a rescue craft from their overcrowded raft, as lifeguards from the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue all 112 on aboard
We are not racists, but there were no conditions to receive the migrants
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Raffaele Scarinzi, the mayor of Vitulano
Mr Scarinzi said: ”We are not racists, but there were no conditions to receive them. It was just a matter of organisation.
"We were the only municipality that had a festival dedicated to refugees, included them in the football team and even involved them in a film that we shot here in Vitulano.”
However, he pointed out, rules must be respected.
The protest saw the only access route to the refugee centre blocked
The town of Vitulano
The leader of Lega Nord, Matteo Salvini, wrote on Facebook after the protest: "The mayor of Vitulano (in the province of Benevento) closed a road, blocking it to prevent the arrival of new immigrants.
“For some he was wrong, but for me he did well! The mayor comes from the Democratic Party. Is he racist and populist too?”
Eventually, the mayor reached an understanding with officials and it was agreed the 40 migrants will be diverted to another reception centre in Benevento.
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