Mar 03, 2019 07:44 Asia/Tehran

Huge crowds have gathered on Saturday in the northern Italian city of Milan to protest against racism.

Iran Press/Europe: Tens of thousands of people have marched on Saturday in Italy’s financial capital against policies by the populist government that they say promote racism.

The Milan city official in charge of migrant policy, Pierfrancesco Majorino, put the number of marchers under the banner “People First” at 200,000, reported Iran Press citing Washington Post.

He wrote on Twitter: "Salvini, count us,” aimed at League leader Matteo Salvini, who as interior minister has blocked the arrival in Italy of humanitarian ships that have rescued migrants fleeing Libya.

The demonstration, which finished in front of the Duomo cathedral, had a festival mood with bongo drums, trumpets and DJ music.

The head of the CGIL labor confederation, Maurizio Landini, said Italy’s government 'is promoting the wrong policies, and is not fighting the inequalities.'


Matteo Salvini's hardline immigration policies

Just 262 boat migrants reached Italy this year via the Mediterranean sea, a tiny fraction of the 5,247 who arrived in 2018, Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said, hailing the plunge as a victory for his hardline immigration policies.

As a matter of fact,  landings in the first two months of 2019 were 262 -- in the same period last year, there were 5,247. That is a 95 percent drop in illegal immigration, Salvini wrote on Friday on Twitter, citing Interior Ministry figures.

This year, the number of migrants who were repatriated from Italy (1,099 deportations and 86 voluntary returns) was four times higher than the number who arrived, Salvini noted, according to a Xinhua report.

Since taking office in June, Salvini has closed the country's ports to migrant rescue vessels, vowing no more migrants will reach Italy by boat from Africa and plans to deport 500,000 illegal immigrants from Italy.

Recently, European leaders agreed to create new “centers” on European soil for housing and processing asylum seekers and to take an array of other cooperative steps on migration policy.

The plan still falls far short of an overall agreement to revise the EU’s asylum rules, which has bedevilled and eluded leaders since the height of the migration crisis in 2015. 103/211/203


Read more:

Migrant landings plummet this year: Italy

EU leaders reach consensus on migration but divisions remain

Milanese Protesters condemn Salvini's migrant crackdown