Salvini wants referendum to stop leftist coalition from opening ports
Addressing a crowd of 80,000 supporters, Italian League leader, Senator Matteo Salvini called for a referendum on immigration to stop the new government from reopening Italy’s ports to pro-immigration NGOs.
Salvini accused the M5S-PD coalition government of committing treason and promised to trigger referendums to block the new leftist coalition from restarting mass migration.
He unveiled his plan to a massive cheering crowd in Pontida on Sunday and said that his former coalition partners the Five Star Movement (M5S) had committed treason, RTS reported.
According to figures from the League, a crowd of 80,000 had gathered in the northern Italian town of Pontida which boasts a population of just over 3,000.
“We will challenge these traitors who are entrenched in their offices,” the senator said. “In a few months, there will be a government of the people,” Salvini added. A referendum on reform of Italy’s electoral laws could become a headache for the new leftist coalition as Italian law states that a referendum must be held if at least 500,000 signatures are obtained from the Italian public.
Salvini also said he would look at more referendums if the government coalition re-opened the border to migrant-transporting NGOs by scrapping his Security Decree.
The Ocean Viking vessel meanwhile picked up 109 migrants in two operations in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, said medical-aid NGO MSF, which runs the rescue with SOS Méditerranée.
It said via Twitter that it rescued 48 migrants from a wooden boat in distress, 53 nautical miles from the coast of Libya, including women, very young children and a newborn baby. The ship then picked up 61 people from a rubber dinghy in distress.
At the weekend the Ocean Viking was allowed to disembark 82 migrants at the Italian island of Lampedusa, a decision that marked a shift in Italian policy under Premier Giuseppe Conte’s second government.
NGO-run migrant-rescue ships were denied access to Italy’s ports under Salvini. He told RAI that thanks to him “150,000 [migrants] did not arrive, but only 5,000 arrived. Easier to manage. It has cost me threats and law suits, but I did it because my job was to defend the safety of Italian citizens”.
The senator blamed the European Union for plotting against him after his non-confidence vote in Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte collapsed the previous coalition. The EU establishment were too hasty in congratulating Prime Minister Conte and the formation of the new coalition earlier this month, he said.
“Thanks to his leadership and with the support of his government I am convinced that Italy will be able to play a leading role in facing these essential European challenges and live up to its responsibilities as a founding state of the Union,” outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at the time.
Italians have rejected the new coalition with only around one in three Italians supporting it.
Hoping to gain from Italy’s change in direction, Germany’s Evangelical Church (EKD) will be launching its own migrant-rescue organisation and sending a ship to the Mediterranean Sea to bring African migrants to Europe.
The EKD is a federation of twenty Lutheran, Reformed, and United Protestant congregations in Germany, making up the vast majority of Protestants in the country. The idea was discussed last June at the Kirchentag meeting of Protestant churches in Dortmund, the largest annual gathering of German Protestants.
The EKD’s latest resolution is intended to turn the idea into a reality. In their announcement the EKD cited the representative from the World Council of Churches, Tareq Alaows. He is a member of the George Soros-funded SEEBRÜCKE movement, which has called for mass immigration.
“We want to send a ship,” said Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. The church council “decided at its recent meeting to found an association in which churches, institutions, and volunteers want to bring another ship together as quickly as possible into the rescue operation”.
“As long as people seeking protection in the Mediterranean drown and government action fails, we will do our utmost to support civilian rescue services,” the bishop stated, citing an “appalling record” of failure to rescue migrants at sea.
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