Some 100 migrants who landed from the coast guard ship Diciotti after a 10-day standoff with the EU arrived Wednesday at a Catholic-run reception centre in Rocca di Papa south of Rome.
The migrants were met by a crowd split between those welcoming them and those saying they were not welcome there – despite the fact that they will soon be sent around Italy.
The Democratic Party (PD) former mayor of the Lazio town, Pasquale Boccia, said ahead of their arrival: “it can’t be done, there is rancour on the part of the residents, which is turning into hatred, we’re already hosting enough of them”.
The head of the cooperative that runs the migrant centre in Rocca di Papa, Domenico Alagia, said “they will remain a few days in the centre and then will be welcomed by the diocese which said they were prepared to take them around Italy”.
Another 39 have remained in the hotspot in Messina, waiting to be transferred to Albania and Ireland, the only two nations who have said they will take some of the Diciotti migrants.
The Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) has said the 100 will be shortly transferred to the many dioceses who have given their availability: Turin, Brescia, Bologna, Agrigento, Cassano all’Jonio, Rossano Calabro, among others.
The stand-off came after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini kept the migrants aboard saying they would not land until the EU agreed to take them.