Italy mourns illegal immigrants

Teary tributes were paid in Rome to 13 Somali immigrants who died at sea in a desperate attempt to reach Europe's shores.

    Immigrants routinely die in understaking the dangerous journey

    Hundreds of mourners on Friday filed past their coffins, laid out in front of Rome's city hall, paying last respects to the unnamed men and woman who sought better life but fell victims to cold and hunger instead at sea.

    Survivors of the nightmarish 16-day voyage, rescued last Sunday by Italian coastguards, said about 50 more corpses had been dumped at sea.

    "I am crying for my brothers," said on Somali mourner.

    About 150 Somali immigrants and several hundred other mourners stood in sombre silence as 13 hearses arrived one by one and city officials placed the coffins on a raised platform.

    Shock

    The tragedy has traumatized many Italians and Rome responded with a formal ceremony to honour the dead at a vast square that was once the heart of the Roman empire.

    "I am crying for my brothers"

    Somali mourner

    "I came to express compassion with these people who fled their homeland in search of a better life only to find suffering and death," an elderly Roman woman said, crying and making the sign of the cross.

    Many Somali woman covered their faces in their headscarves, while others held high their national flag.

    Deaths

    At least 12 other African immigrants have died in two other shipwrecks off Italy this past week, prompting shrill calls for granting safe passage to immigrants.

    Italy's government has enacted tough legislations to discourage immigrants from sneaking in.

    But unmindful of the lurking dangers, rickety old boats are still leaving Tunisia and Libya on a regular basis, packed with immigrants and heading straight for Italy's shores.

    Many of those on board, like the 13 Somalis, never make it.


    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.