Italy welcomed more than 1,200 boat migrants over the weekend. After a dangerous trip across the Mediterranean, a boat with 487 people reached the port city of Crotone in the Calabria region in the south of the country on Saturday, the Ansa news agency reported. In addition, a coast guard ship brought 584 migrants to the port of the city of Reggio Calabria. The people had previously been boarded from overcrowded boats at sea. According to the Coast Guard, there was another ship with a smaller group.
The Coast Guard has been heavily criticized in recent days because at the end of February it did not initially come to the aid of a boat with more than 150 migrants. The boat capsized. At the weekend - two weeks after the accident - emergency services pulled the bodies of three children and three adults out of the water. A total of at least 79 people died, including 32 children and young people, as a commander of the Carabinieri confirmed on request. There is still criticism of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Demonstration against dying in the Mediterranean
Because of the difficult weather conditions and the large number of people, the missions at the weekend were "extraordinarily complex", according to the authorities. Migrants are still floating in the sea on boats that are actually unseaworthy. The Alarm Phone aid project reported on Sunday that 47 people in distress were still off the Libyan coast. The people on board are tired and terrified. According to official figures, Italy has already taken in more than 17,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January - more than twice as many as in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, around 5,000 people demonstrated against dying in the Mediterranean on Saturday. They gathered in the Calabrian town of Steccato di Cutro, off the coast of which the serious accident happened two weeks ago. On the beach, they commemorated the dead with a minute's silence. Some demonstrators held up a cross made from the wreckage of the wooden boat that crashed.