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Tunisian migrants riot on Italian island

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Tunisian migrants riot on Italian island


Desperate Tunisian migrants have staged a mutiny at a detention centre.

Faced with imminent deportation from the Italian island of Lampedusa, they started a small fire and made a bid for freedom on Monday.

Thousands fleeing political turmoil in Tunisia have made the crossing to Lampedusa this year. And they are determined not to go back.

But some of the escapees were swiftly returned to the centre, to face repatriation, under a deal struck between Rome and the new, post-revolutionary authorities in Tunis.

Italy will grant six-month residence permits to thousands of others who arrived earlier. That has sparked friction with France. Tunisia’s ex-colonial power fears the migrants will now head, en masse, to its territory.

“We want to go to France, to Germany, to Spain, to any country but Italy and Tunisia,” said one of the migrants. “Have you seen, all they do is hurt us. I have been attacked with tear gas. We are not doing anything wrong. I am just a man like you, like all other men.”

More EU ministerial meetings are planned to try to solve the crisis. In the meantime, migrants will pursue their search for work and a better life.

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