Shoot immigrants says Italian leader

The leader of an Italian far-right party and senior cabinet minister, Umberto Bossi, has said Italian authorities should open fire on boats carrying illegal immigrants to Italy.

    Bossi wants the navy to use
    cannons against immigrants'

    Bossi heads the Northern League, which has made combating immigration the main focus in their political platform.


    Bossi told Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview published on Monday that Italy could use two ways to apply a law.


    “Either our boats will confront the clandestine immigrants coming ashore… or you write in black and white that force must be used”, he said.


    “After the second or third warning, boom… fire the cannon. Don’t talk too much. Otherwise we will not be able to overcome” the immigration problem.


    Boss, who is known for his xenophobic comments, is a reform minister and number three in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government,


    He said the navy and customs office should unite “in defence of our coastline and use the cannon”.


    Last year's bill introduced
    fingerprinting of immigrants

    Last year, parliament voted for a bill that aims at toughening asylum conditions and introducing fingerprinting along with tougher penalties for immigrants breaking the law.


    But rules on applying the law have not been agreed upon. The cabinet is scheduled to discuss the details of applying the law later this week.


    The majority of lawmakers in Italy's parliament are loyal to Berlusconi.


    Like much of Europe, xenophobia has increasingly taken the form of anti-Islamic sentiment directed at immigrants - refugees and economic migrants - arriving from mainly Muslim countries


    Protests in France


    In Paris, around 40 immigrants occupied the empty Somali embassy to protest tougher French immigration laws.


    The protesters erected a banner outside the embassy saying, “Deprived of rights, excluded, repressed, enough! Protect clandestine immigrant”.


    The head of a French organisation supporting immigrants, Jean-Claude Amara, described the legislation as “deeply anti-democratic”, saying it stigmatised clandestine immigrants more and more.


    “We have to protect people in danger, deprived of elementary rights such as health care, accommodation, and reduced to slavery at the workplace”, said Amara.


    French authorities deployed dozens of police outside the embassy near the Arc de Triomphe.


    They did not take immediate action against the occupants.


    Last April, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said the goal of his bill was to prevent the estimated 30,000 clandestine immigrants from entering France every year.


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