Milan to hold pro-immigrant march

Despite doubts by regional governor Maroni.

The “Milan without walls” demonstration and march planned for 20 May afternoon will go ahead as planned, said mayor Beppe Sala on 19 May.

After the stabbing and wounding of two soldiers and a police officer during an identity check in Milan’s central station on 18 May, Lombardy regional governor Roberto Maroni of the Lega Nord party called for the demo to be cancelled.

On his Facebook page, Sala wrote, “I call for peaceful participation by everyone to help us reflect on this important issue.” And he also pointed out that the man of North African origin who had reacted violently to the ID check in fact had an Italian mother and was an Italian citizen “just like all of us”.

“But despite this,” Sala added, “some people find it convenient to blame this criminal act on migrants in general.”

In a tweet, Maroni expressed solidarity with the injured officials and said the march should be cancelled. Regional councillor Riccardo De Corato of the Fratelli d’Italia party backed up Maroni’s request, stating that the demo would only feed the tension.

Sala has visited the injured police officer in hospital and confirmed that he was well. The march should go ahead, Sala stated, with representatives from city hall, voluntary organisations and NGOs working for immigrant rights and church officials.

The demonstration is scheduled to start at Porta Venezia at 14.30, and then through the streets of the city to express solidarity with the hundreds of immigrants living in precarious conditions in Milan.

Although the majority of them are trying to reach family members or work opportunities in northern Europe, many find themselves blocked in Milan and elsewhere in Italy’s northern provinces as borders are closed against them.