A dozen or so Moroccan migrants who have been held in a reception centre in Rome for more than two months have sewn their mouths shut.
The act is in protest at the length of the their detention. They are asking for political asylum which is supposed only to take up to 45 days to process.
A translator explained that the desperate men have no other way to make the authorities take notice of them:
“They say they don’t sleep anymore, they are feeling sick and have not committed any crime. They just don’t understand why people are so angry with them. They won’t stop the protest until the authorities take a decision and write it down.”
Conditions in what is supposed to be a short-term facility are poor.
Italy is struggling to absorb the many thousands of migrants who make their way through North Africa to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa before being sent on to centres like the one near Rome. But there the waiting continues, leaving many in a state of limbo until their futures are decided.