Italy: Lampedusa locals react to rescue ship’s arrival and captains subsequent arrest

The migrants from the Sea-Watch 3 rescue ship were placed in the Lampedusa refugee centre on Saturday, several hours after being allowed to disembark from the vessel. The ship's captain Carola Rackete was arrested earlier for refusing to obey a military vessel and bringing the ship into port without permission, a crime reportedly punishable up to 10 years in prison. Aishi, one of the migrants... Еще coming from Ghana, said, «Carola, the Sea Watch Captain, she is a really life saver. We were all almost drowning in the middle of the ocean. Sea Watch showed up and rescued us. I would be a dead body right now.» «She told me that the boat Sea Watch, we are more [unintelligible] than Sea Watch, life is more precious than that boat. So, she sacrificed herself for us,» he added. Meanwhile, the event divided the population of Lampedusa, with one part denouncing the act of the ship's captain, while others praising it. «The captain, the ship, and an association created by itself, which does not work for the government or anyone. This is exactly what people from Lampedusa refuse to accept,» said Elio, a Lega Nord supporter. «It's not that they demand to not give these people a welcome, but they demand that these types of associations don't prevail and exploit the situation, maybe destroying the people and making happen what already happened yesterday night,» he added. Mario, a resident, said, «The only thing is that she [the captain] would have not rammed the ship of the Fiscal Police, putting its crew at risk. If she wanted to dock, she should have done it in a softer way without putting other lives at risk.» Mimmo, another resident, added, «There are more of them in the north of Italy, where they are moved and where they escape, than in Lampedusa. We don't see them. We just see people who arrive and leave afterwards.» «I don't like to create models or heroes but I think that if a 31-year old girl puts herself on the side of the weak, in spite of personal risk, she manages to promote her ideas and help others — it's an example for everyone, in my opinion. It is also a hope,» said Anna, Lampedusa Solidale.
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