Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's recent visit to Lampedusa alongside European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and the government's intensified stance on irregular immigration has provoked strong reactions across the Mediterranean.
Messages of anger and direct threats towards Meloni have surfaced in monitored communication channels, which sheds light on growing tensions in North America over Italy's shift to restrict illegal immigration.
Reports indicate that migrants, traffickers, and intermediaries have sent messages of anger and threats over Italy's new plans, backed by European support, to curtail the influx of irregular immigrants, Italy 24 reports.
A particular message from a Guinean individual identified as Issa reads, “You will die soon, you racist put… of s…” while another insinuated threat involves the Prime Minister's young daughter, Ginevra: "Stop talking, you have a daughter. Shut up."
Meloni and her daughter have previously been targets of death threats.
The heightened rhetoric against the Prime Minister continues, with one migrant inquiring, "Are we at war with Italy?" Another described Ms. Meloni derogatorily, highlighting the sharp division the issue has created.
Previously, Italy was viewed favorably along the North African coasts, often seen as a beacon of hope for migrants due to its more accommodating stance on immigration. Catchphrases such as "open ports" have been popular, giving encouragement to human traffickers and migrants alike.
However, with Italy's centre-right government now announcing stricter measures against illegal immigration, concerns are mounting that these new policies will upset existing plans.
Weather permitting, significant departures are expected from the Tunisian coast in the coming months. Several migrants have voiced their determination to reach Italy regardless of the new measures. One named Abdoulaye stated, "You have to expect the worst, because half of us haven’t even left. Now we are saving," while another, identified as Gambiga, said, "They didn’t see anything at all. We are coming."
Mostly, it's migrants from sub-Saharan Africa that display both tension and defiance. Common refrains include, "No one can stop us, it’s been like this since the dawn of time," and "Mrs. Meloni, we haven’t practically started yet and do you want to send us back home?"
As Italy tightens its grip on illegal immigration, it's evident that the reactions are escalating to concerning threats, and it remains to be seen how the nation and its leadership will navigate the issue.