Italian populist Matteo Salvini has rebuked U.S. celebrity Richard Gere over whether a boatload of illegal migrants should be allowed into Italy, suggesting he should look after them in Hollywood.
Salvini, the League (Lega) leader who serves as Italy’s deputy prime minister and minister of the interior in a now-tenuous coalition with the Five Star Movement (M5S), has taken an Australia-style hard line against illegal sea crossings, believing that if it is made clear that migrant transports will not be allowed to land in Italy, fewer people will attempt to make the journey — meaning fewer drownings.
So far, the policy has proved successful, with illegal sea migration and drowning deaths both plummeting— but the NGOs which had been picking up the migrants from small boats off Libya and taking them the rest of the way to Europe are not happy at their “rescue” operations being disrupted...
Hollywood star, Richard Gere, is in Lampedusa aboard the #OpenArms rescue vessel, denied entry to Italy & Malta.— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) August 9, 2019
Also on board are 121 people - including babies & children - who fled Libya. Yesterday @amnesty called for them to be allowed to disembark. https://t.co/PEqjLe6ztm pic.twitter.com/BWrC9PaYDL
Visto che i suoi amici della ONG hanno 180 immigrati a bordo, sono sicuro che il generoso milionario li ospiterà tutti nelle sue ville. Sbaglio??? pic.twitter.com/mB3SIfSK7D
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) August 10, 2019
“Given this generous millionaire is voicing concern for the fate of the Open Arms migrants, we thank him: he can take back to Hollywood, on his private plane, all the people aboard and support them in his villas,” he suggested.