Mobilisations against Centres of Identification and Expulsion of Migrants (C.I.E.)

Modena, 19th June

Hundreds of people took part in a demo around the Ghirlandina CIE to demand the closure of CIE’s. The demo was organised by a network of social centres, anarchist and radical groups from all over Italy.

The protest managed to paralyse for at least half day the centre of Modena, and was closely controlled by police and carabinieri forces. Chants and slogans were targeted at the racist party Northern League and, especially, at Daniele Giovanardi. Giovanardi is President of the Catholic organisation “Misericordia” (literally, “mercy”…what a laugh!), which manages the Ghirlandina CIE in Modena. In recent months many CIE’s in Italy have been at the centre of scandals and accusations of violence, beatings and, in some cases, rape against the detainees. Poor food and poor general conditions are the norm.

After the end of the demo inspection and checks went on till past midnight. One person was stopped for having supposedly rented a van which transported materials for the demo.

Collegno (Turin), 20th June

During the 11am mass at Santa Chiara activists played a tape recording of a beating in a CIE after a protest among the detainees. Leaflets were then distributed denouncing the situation in CIEs and the role of “Confraternita delle Misericordie” (Brotherhood of Mercy Organisations) in the management of CIE’s in Italy.

From the leaflet:


Collegno’s Catholic organisation “Misericordia” is part of the National Federation of Italian “Misericordie”, which manages Centres of Identification and Expulsion in Crotone, Modena and Bologna. As you might know, these Centres (which some people insist on calling “Welcome Centres”) are true prisons for foreigners without papers or whose permit isn’t valid (perhaps because they’ve lost their job). Thousands of people pass through these cages every year, to be then dragged by force onto a ship or plane. Others leave them with a Decree of Expulsion in their hands which will take them straight to jail at the first police check.

The people who manage these places contribute daily to this injustice. Moreover, they profit from it, without any mercy. And not only: they accept in silence whatever they see – the police beatings, the humiliating conditions, the use of psychotropic drugs in food. Sometimes they take part in it.

The management of these Centres is an outrageous business to which many Catholic organisations have taken part. For years Don Lodeserto managed with sticks and blackmails the San Foca Centre in Puglia, with the assent of the local bishop. Eventually Lodeserto was briefly arrested and then sent quickly to Romania by the local Church, and the Centre closed down. The “Misericordia” of Modena, with its political and ecclesiastical alliances, reminds us of that story. A story that many would like to forget. But we need to stop this. The “Misericordia” needs to stop managing the CIE’s, and the CIE’s must be closed down.


Original articles from Italy Indymedia. Translated by Italy Calling.

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