Despite heavy rain, around 1000 people marched through the streets of Bologna on 23 March 2013, in a general demonstration against the Bossi-Fini law, a restrictive law on immigration from 2002. The demands were clear:
- The guarantee of a residence permit for everyone, not related to a job or income
- The end of daily institutional racism
- The end of the fraudulent act of indemnity
- The end of the farce of humanitarian permits and the fictitious right of asylum
- The permanent closure of all Centres for identification and deportation (CIE).
The call to demonstrate came from Coordinamento Migranti Bologna who wanted to give a strong signal to the newly elected parliament, by asking for the repeal of the Bossi-Fini law. “We’ve become stronger inside and outside our workplaces, we left behind the fear and we took the floor together, women and men. Now it’s time to take to the streets!”, said the appeal.
Because of the economic crisis, the condition of migrant workers has got much worse in recent years and it’s continuing to deteriorate. The first victims of this crisis are the weakest: migrants and, among them, women.
That the right to have a residence permit is tied to a job or a certain level of income puts migrants in a situation where blackmail can occur. And for women it’s even worse. If a migrant worker wants to keep their residence permit they have to accept any job, any salary and any conditions. If they don’t, then after a few months they won’t be able to renew their permit and they will probably join the growing ranks of illegal workers.
Thousands of migrants have already had to leave Italy, losing contributions they’ve already paid over many years. Many others have had to let their family go back to their countries of origin.
Coordinamento Migranti Bologna understood that there’s only one struggle to win, that of the workers united, so they invited Italian workers too, especially those in precarious jobs, to demonstrate with them. Migrant workers are the first to lose their rights, then it’s the turn of every other worker. Many delegations of migrant workers from across Italy joined the demonstration in Bologna. North African refugees camped in Villa Aldini and Prati di Caprara (in Bologna) joined the demonstration, too, to denounce the failure of the Italian government’s reception policies for humanitarian refugees.
Migrant workers also criticized trades union federations for not supporting them in their struggles, particularly in logistics, where precarious work and poorly paid migrant labour is the rule. At the demonstration, there were many workers from the warehouses in Anzola and other part of Northern Italy who were on strike yesterday. While the No TAV demostration is taking place in the Susa Valley, some No Tav supporters joined the migrants’ march in Bologna, to express their support of the struggle against the institutional racism.
The demonstration on 23 March could be the first step, followed by a general strike by migrants and a national demonstration.