The Latest: Italy breaks up unofficial migrants' tent camp

AP News
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Posted: May 30, 2016 3:22 PM
The Latest: Italy breaks up unofficial migrants' tent camp

POZZALLO, Sicily (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Italian authorities have broken up unofficial migrants' tent camp in the town of Ventimiglia near the French border.

The migrants, from Eritrea and other African countries as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh, had been camping out for weeks or months in hopes of managing to slip into France while eluding document controls.

After Ventimiglia's mayor ordered the camp dismantled, police Monday rounded up migrants for identification. Minors were taken to local social services centers. Only adults who had international protection documents were allowed to stay in Ventimiglia.

The Italian news agency ANSA said about 95 migrants were transferred to centers in Bari, southern Italy, and Catania, Sicily, for repatriation.

Many of Ventimiglia's residents provided free meals, blankets and other help to the migrants while they camped in the seaside town.

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9:10 p.m.

France's interior minister has signed the state on to pay 3.9 million euros ($4.34 million) to run a migrant camp in northern France built by Doctors Without Borders and opened in early March.

Bernard Cazeneuve committed the funds to the camp in Grande Synthe, outside Dunkirk, that replaced a sordid one nearby. It was the first time in recent years that the state has directly funded or become involved in running a camp.

The three-way convention committing funds is between the French state, the town of Grande Synthe and an association running the camp.

Despite the benevolence, there was concern the state funding may spell the end of the camp, made up of more than 300 wooden shelters, currently holding about 800 migrants, many of them Iraqi Kurds.

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6 p.m.

Serbian police say they have prevented the illegal transfer of 44 migrants to Hungary and arrested three Afghans accused of planning to smuggle them across the border.

Police said Monday the group was discovered in the border town of Subotica after coming off a local bus. They included people from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Migrants increasingly have been turning to smugglers to help them reach the European Union after the closure of the so-called Balkan corridor in early March.

Their numbers could surge as the weather gets warmer in the summer. Aid groups have warned more migrants are using dangerous routes from fear of being caught.

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5:35 p.m.

Prosecutors have demanded prison sentences of up to a year for four men allegedly involved in rioting that erupted last year during a heated demonstration against a proposed asylum-seekers' center in a small Dutch town.

The violence broke out Dec. 16 in the town of Geldermalsen, 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, while local legislators were debating plans to house asylum-seekers in the town. It underscored deep resentment among a section of Dutch society at the arrival of thousands of migrants last year.

Prosecutors on Monday asked judges to convict a 22-year-old and a 29-year-old for their alleged roles in the riots and sentence them both to a year in prison, with four months of the sentence suspended. Two other men face lower sentences if convicted.

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5:10 p.m.

It was the cries of children — and the moment they decided they must save themselves — that haunt the survivors of a shipwreck that claimed hundreds of lives.

Two Eritreans who arrived safely in Sicily told The Associated Press how the sea kept seeping into their rickety fishing boat despite all efforts to bail the water out. Eventually, the sea prevailed.

"When the morning came, I saw how the children were crying and the women," Habtom Tekle, a 27-year-old Eritrean, told the AP through an interpreter. "At this point I only tried to pray."

Between 400 and 550 on their smugglers' boat didn't make it, part of the estimated 700 migrants who perished in Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks over three days last week in the deadliest known tally in over a year, as calm weather and sunny skies increased smuggling crossings from Libya.