Migrants Set Fire to Lampedusa Migrant Shelter in Protest

Reuters, May 17, 2016

A group of migrants set fire to a shelter on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on Tuesday that caused no injuries, an Italian fire official said, marking an increase in tensions in Italy’s packed centers as arrivals continue.

Lampedusa’s mayor, Giusi Nicolini, said one building was set ablaze and the four men suspected of lighting it had been identified. Several mattresses were set on fire, but the extent of the damage was not yet determined, a fire department spokesman said.

Two other times, in 2009 and in 2011, fire destroyed portions of the migrant center, which has been the first port of call for tens of thousands of boat migrants sailing to Europe from Africa.

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The island center is a so-called “hot spot,” where EU and Italian officials work together to identify and fingerprint asylum seekers before they are moved to the mainland.

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