Far-right activists try to stop migrant rescues

TMP – 04/09/2017

The mayor of the Italian island of Sicily last month sought to block a ship chartered by a group of far-right activists from docking. The ship had been hired by Generation Identity, a group of young, anti-Islam and anti-immigration activists from across Europe, who want to stop migrants entering Europe from Libya.

As part of a scheme called “Defend Europe”, the activists hired a vessel in Djibouti with the help of crowdfunding. During a “trial run” in June, the group claims it successfully intercepted a NGO migrant rescue operation off the coast of Sicily.

The activists’ aim is to expose what they say are wrongdoings by “criminal” NGO search and rescue boats, which they accuse of working with people smugglers to transport migrants to Europe. They also plan to disrupt the work of the crews by calling the Libyan coastguard and asking them to take migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean back to Libya.

So far this year, more than 2,400 migrants have lost their life while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. Many are packed onto flimsy and unseaworthy boats that are not able to make the crossing safely.