In Calabria, the mayor of Riace has welcomed many migrants to revive his moribund village. Experience was considered in Italy as a model of integration; the Ministry of the Interior, led by the leader of the extreme right Matteo Salvini, decided to evacuate the migrants from the village, on the grounds of irregularities.

Anger mounted Sunday in Italy after the Interior Ministry, led by far-right leader Matteo Salvini, ordered the transfer to migrant shelters that had been hosted in a village in Calabria. an integration model.

" Shame. It's not Italy, " said former Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Twitter.

"Flagship Experience" vs. "Immigration Business"

Saturday, after the arrest in early October of the mayor of the village of Riace, Domenico Lucano, under the accusation of having committed irregularities for the benefit of asylum seekers, the Ministry of the Interior ordered the transfer to centers of accommodation of migrants who have settled in the village.

Sources at the ministry, quoted Sunday by Italian media, however, appeared to return to the principle of forced transfers, saying that migrants "would be transferred only if they are voluntary . "

Those who choose to stay "will no longer benefit from the host system , " these sources added.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (far right) and his League party have made Riace an example of their "war against the business of immigration" while the village is presented by the supporters of the mayor as a flagship experience integration of newcomers into a moribund commune.

"Stop Salvini. Do not close your eyes, " said the National Association of Italian Supporters (ANPI) in an appeal to the 5-star Movement (M5S), an antisystem party member of the ruling coalition alongside the League.

Rather attack the mafia ...

ANPI felt that the government should instead go to war against organized crime in Calabria, a stronghold of the mafia.

Some 200 people who have settled in this depopulated locality will be affected, according to Italian media.

"For reasons of decency, in a territory as beautiful and difficult as Calabria, remember that it is the mafia that should be pursued, not an honest man like (mayor) Lucano," said ANPI .

The initiative of Mayor Domenico Lucano, whose program of welcoming migrants was accompanied by the restoration of abandoned houses and the reopening of craftsmen's workshops, was presented as a model that could be reproduced to revive other moribund communes.

Domenico Lucano was placed under house arrest, particularly on charges of having organized "marriages of convenience" for the benefit of asylum seekers. His lawyers are preparing to appeal against the ministry.

The mayor of RIace, Domenico Lucano has been under house arrest since 2 October. | Photo MARCO COSTANTINO / EPA

"Salvini's priorities in Calabria are to send families and children elsewhere and dismantle an integration model that has worked and is recognized around the world," said former parliament speaker Laura Boldrini.

"If Lucano is (considered) the danger in Calabria, it means that the mafia is winning," warned for his part the former mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, who was for nine years prosecutor in Calabria.

"If the government decides to deport the fragile and persecuted victims of oppressor regimes in the world, Riace must become a bastion of resistance," he added.