‘Blood on your hands’ protest at LSE against Italian ex-minister, Marco Minniti, over immigration policies and violations of human rights

Students protested in front of the London School of Economics (LSE) earlier this week against an event with ex-Minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti, over his policies on immigration.

The main organiser of the protest told London Student: “The LSE is hosting someone who is directly responsible for the ongoing massacres and violations of human rights in Libya. This is why we’re here, and this is why we’re protesting.”

A postgraduate student who joined the protest said: “We painted our hands red because we believe that Minniti has the responsibility for the lives people who are being slaved, tortured, and killed in Libya – he has blood on his hands.”

As the minister left the New Academic Building of the LSE campus based in Holborn, the protesters threw paint and climbed on the black cab carrying Minniti away.

The event, which was hosted by the LSE Italian society, was a joint talk on the subject of security and migration featuring Marco Minniti and Marta Foresti, visiting Senior Fellow at Institute of Global Affairs.

Protestors in the event asked critical questions once the floor was opened up to the audience and following the talk protestors outside the building picketed the entrances, attempting to blockade his exit.

Under the previous Italian government, Minniti enacted policies which increased expulsions of migrants. He also pushed for agreements with countries through which migrants travelled through before arriving into Italy. These agreements, such as the one with the Libyan regime of President Fayez al-Sarraj, have lead to much criticism of the legacy Minniti has left behind.

The protest organiser argued that the agreement with Libya signed on 2 February 2017, lead to grave violations of people seeking refuge. “It was responsible for sending people on the move [to Italy] back to Libya,” she said, “where they are imprisoned in detention centres. The UN has testified that there are grave ongoing violations of human rights such as rape, torture, human trafficking, and the creation of slave markets.”

The ex-Minister defended his agreement with Libya by arguing that this would reduce the activity surrounding human trafficking. However, the post graduate protester argued otherwise: “This defense is just a trap to legitimise harsh policy borders, not allowing NGOs to save people, and criminalising refugees. Minniti’s use of human trafficking is just a way to conceal the truth.

“Minniti paved the way for Salvini”.

Many people believe the stringent policies of current Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, were facilitated by Minniti’s political direction.

When asked for a comment, senior sources of the Italian Prime Minister rebutted this line of argument saying that Salvini’s stringent immigration policies cannot be linked to the ex-Minister, as his policies decreased the entrance of migrants by 82%.

“Part of the agreement was dependent on the review by UN officials to enter the camps where refugees were held, to certify that conditions were up to par,” the source told LS, “however it is difficult to assure that these conditions and the protection of human rights are respected when the officials are not present.”

They also argue that Marco Minniti did the best he could in a Europe that has failed to help Italy’s management of the refugee influx.

Help us produce quality journalism

London Student is not supported by any university or students' union. All our activity is funded by donations.