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Northern League senators hold sit-in on migrant law

Anger over plan to relax immigration rules trigger protest

16 January, 10:39
Northern League senators hold sit-in on migrant law (ANSA) - Rome, January 16 - Angry Northern League Senators occupied the Senate Speaker's office Thursday morning to protest a debate over easing laws on illegal immigration. Senator Raffaele Volpi, leader among the anti-immigration Northern League Senators, said the sit-in at Speaker Pietro Grasso's office was called because League opinions were being ignored.

Their protest comes as Italy's parliament continues to debate abolishing a League-sponsored law criminalizing illegal immigration.

The debate has been widened in recent days to include the role that race plays in political discourse in Italy, after a string of abuse has been hurled at country's first black cabinet minister, Congolese-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge.

Members of the League have often been behind non-violent, verbal abuse against Kyenge, with one leader likening her to an orangutan last year.

Kyenge, once an undocumented immigrant herself, has been at the forefront of the drive to repeal Italy's strict laws on illegal immigration.