THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s migration crisis (all times local):
Several Italian mayors and governors are challenging a new law introduced by the populist government that cracks down on asylum-seekers.
Piedmont Gov. Sergio Chiamparino, told Sky TG24 TV Monday that he’ll ask Italy’s constitutional court to decide whether the law violates the Constitution. He said he’d join forces with Tuscany’s governor in the court challenge.
Last week, the mayors of Palermo, Naples and some smaller cities vowed not to implement the law, which bans asylum-seekers from applying for residency.
Residency is needed to seek public housing or a place in public nursery schools or for full access to Italy’s national health care system.
The law, championed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-migrant League party, also ends humanitarian protection status for many who fall short of qualifying for full asylum
A private rescue group says some migrants aboard its vessel off Malta are refusing food on their 17th day of awaiting permission to disembark at a European port.
Sea-Watch tweeted on Monday it fears the migrants’ “psychological and health status may deteriorate significantly” if the stalemate continues.
The aid group rescued 32 migrants from a smugglers’ boat in the Mediterranean Dec. 22. The boat’s within sight of Malta, which hopes EU negotiations will yield nations willing to take them. Seventeen migrants were saved by another private rescue boat Dec. 29 and they also are awaiting permission to disembark.
Malta won’t allow disembarking until deals are reached to distribute the 49 among fellow European Union nations, as well as some of 249 migrants its armed forces rescued in late December.
Italy also has denied disembarkation permission.
Dozens of refugees housed in tents in a camp in northern Greece have been protesting living conditions as temperatures have plunged well below freezing and snow has blanketed the area.
Police said about 40 refugees in the overcrowded Diavata camp protested outside the facility, burning tires and blocking a road outside the camp. A passing truck driver and one refugee were injured in a fight that broke out after the driver attempted to break through the barricade. Four people were detained, police said.
The Diavata camp has a capacity of 700 people but currently houses 1,410. Of those, 700 live in containers turned into small houses, a further 300 are staying in large communal buildings in the camp and about 400 live in tents.