Lampedusa’s anti-migration mayor says the island is ‘collapsing’

Lampedusa – Door of Europe Monument. Too cynical by half.

The Italian island of Lampedusa became a symbol for the country’s welcoming culture towards migrants, and an award-winning film showed how islanders and new arrivals lived together in harmony.

But over the weekend, the town’s mayor, Salvatore Martello, warned that the town is “about to collapse”, singling out groups of migrants for criticism.

Martello said that he regularly received complaints from tourists and business owners on the island, who told him they “could not manage anymore” due to repeated instances of threats, thefts, and harassment. He said that a group of “180 Tunisians” were to blame for these incidents, and that they were able to “circumvent security controls” despite a heavy presence of security and police officers outside the centre.