Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi says the city is overflowing with immigrants and migrants, and she has asked the government not to send more asylum seekers there.
Raggi is a member of the Five Star Movement party, a political party in Italy that is the main opposition to the country’s primary political party, and she is the party’s highest-level office-holder. The current Italian government is run by the Democratic Party, or PD, rivals of the Five Star Movement.
Raggi recently sent a letter to the Italian interior ministry asking the ministry not to send any new migrants to the country’s capital.
In a post on her Facebook page, Raggi said, translated from Italian, that: “We will no longer allow anyone to eat on the weakest. And at the same time, it is time to listen to the Roman people: we cannot allow for further social tensions. That is why I find it impossible, as well as risky, to think about creating other reception facilities [for immigrants].”
“This administration hopes the decisions about where to put new centres [for asylum seekers] will take into account the evident pressure migration is putting on Rome, and the consequences which may be devastating socially and for the protection of the people they are built for,” Raggi said in the letter, according to Reuters.
The interior ministry is reportedly responsible for plans to relocate migrants from arrival points on the southern coast of Italy across the country.
The Five Start Movement party has made “ambivalent statements” before about immigration, according to Reuters.
The party’s potential prime minister candidate, Luigi Di Maio, in the past accused humanitarian groups of “running a ‘taxi’ service for boat migrants from Libya,” Reuters said.
About one third of the 8,000 city government in Italy offered to shelter those immigrants seeking asylum.
“In Rome, police have repeatedly cleared out temporary camps for people trying to reach Northern Europe, citing security concerns,” Reuters reported.
The Rome mayor was elected one year ago. Her election was her political party’s biggest victory ever.
While the movement is the country’s largest opposition party, it did poorly in local elections held recently.
Raggi was also recently accused by Rome prosecutors of “abuse of office for one appointment and making false statements concerning another,” according to the Associated Press.