Migrant ship disembarks in Italy despite Salvini ban

Migrant ship disembarks in Italy despite Salvini ban
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By Philip Andrew Churm
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A migrant ship has disembarked in the Italian port of Lampedusa despite a ban by the country's interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

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More than 40 migrants disembarked a charity rescue vessel in the Italian port of Lampedusa early on Sunday. It is the second boat to defy a ban by the country's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

On Saturday, Mediterranea's Italian-flagged "Alex" declared a state of emergency and said it was heading to Lampedusa but Salvini rejected German calls for Italy to open its ports.

In a video posted on social media he said: "And so, dear German government, I am not reopening Italian ports, especially if you ask me to. When there is a German ship then you take care of it, or we put all the migrants on a bus in front of the German embassy. That's enough! And this applies to the French, the Dutch and to anyone who thinks anything can be done in Italy."

Italy had asked Mediterranea to go to Malta but the charity said the 11-hour journey would be too long in view of what they called "intolerable hygiene conditions" onboard the Alex.

Last month Salvini's far-right League party introduced laws which would lead to heavy fines for any migrant NGOs which enter Italian waters.

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