Thousands march in Italy’s Milan against racism

Published: March 03, 2019 11:53:57 | Updated: March 09, 2019 10:44:54

DJ Simon Samaki Osagie sings during an anti-racism demonstration, in Milan, Italy, Saturday, March 2, 2019 - AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Huge crowds have gathered in the northern Italian city of Milan to protest against racism.

Organisers said about 200,000 people turned out in the city in Lombardy, a region where the right-wing populist League party has strong support.

Campaigners say the government promotes fear and hatred to spread division.

Deputy prime minister and League leader Matteo Salvini says the government's new immigration policies will "make Italy safer".

A decree issued in September makes it easier to deport migrants and take away their citizenship if they commit serious crimes.

Under the new governing coalition, Italy has tried to close its ports to boats with migrants travelling across the Mediterranean, says a BBC report.

Demonstrators marched under the slogan People First, with organisers issuing a mission statement saying diversity is a cultural treasure.

"We want Italy and Europe to change their policies, to put people at the centre with their difficulties," one man told Italian broadcaster Rai TV.

A woman said the march was to show that "reception is a very beautiful thing and diversity an enrichment".

Milan's social democrat mayor, Beppe Sala, described the protests as a watershed moment.

Share if you like