14 migrants arrested in repatriation center in unrest spurred by death of young African migrant

MILAN — Authorities in Rome have arrested 14 migrants from nine countries for alleged involvement in unrest in a repatriation center following the death of a migrant from the African nation of Guinea, police said Monday.

After the body was discovered Sunday morning, migrants in the center began setting mattresses on fire and throwing objects at law enforcement personnel. Migrants used phone booths to knock down two partitions. One group reached parked police vehicles, setting one on fire, while another group entered a room where law enforcement personnel kept personal items, which they took and destroyed. The suspects also destroyed eight video cameras, police said.

Authorities used tear gas to calm the unrest, which lasted into the evening. Three officers were injured.

The suspects are from Morocco, Pakistan, Guinea, Cuba, Chile, Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria and Gambia, police said.

An Italian lawmaker who visited the center on Sunday said the 21-year-old Guinean migrant had hung himself after expressing desperation at not being able to go home to join his family.

“These centers are black holes for rights and humanity,’’ lawmaker Riccardo Magi told La Repubblica television, calling for them to be closed. “Most people who are being held here will never be repatriated.”

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