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(en) Italy, Anarres: ALPINE ROUTE. STORM AT THE BORDER (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 22 Mar 2023 07:26:52 +0200

In the days of the umpteenth tragedy of the sea and despite the rigors of winter, attempts to cross the Alpine border by men and women on the go continue. And the Stura di Demonte valley in the province of Cuneo is confirmed as one of the obligatory transit points for anyone trying to go to France. ---- 39 migrants, all adults, mostly of Pakistani origin but also Indians and Bangladeshis, were found last week aboard a van for the transport of goods in Bersezio, a hamlet in the municipality of Argentera. The men were trying to cross the Colle della Maddalena, at an altitude of 1996 meters, at that moment closed due to snow. The mayor of the town Monica Ciaburro who saw the vehicle stopped near the square of Bersezio (town hall) and some passengers near the road. After reaching them, she ordered them to stop, blocking the road with the help of Anas vehicles and specialized snow clearing companies. In the meantime several patrols of Carabinieri intervened, coming from Demonte, Vinadio and Borgo San Dalmazzo.
According to reports, three of the migrants tried to flee in the snow by taking refuge in a nearby farmhouse but were identified by a city councilor who promptly intervened and were forced to return to the square together with their unfortunate travel companions.
Despite the snow, the prefecture has sent a bus to transport the unfortunate people to the police station in Cuneo for identification procedures. The police announce that they have identified the driver of the van, a Pakistani who was arrested on charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration and sent to prison in Cuneo.
"We need constant supervision up here, because the trafficking of human beings must be stopped", commented the mayor Ciaburro, a deputy elected from the Brothers of Italy list, who from Argentera, with a handful of votes and thanks to the support of the current minister Guido Crosetto, began his political career.
In the same days of the Cutro massacre, the mayor of a small village lost in the mountains on the border with France, gets in the way with lots of heavy vehicles and then repeats the same hypocritical speech of her ringleader at Palazzo Chigi: passeurs like smugglers, it's their fault!
Thus confusing the causes with the effects: it is clear that human trafficking is the consequence of the impossibility of people to exercise freedom of movement, it is the consequence of border closure policies and their militarization.
The municipality of Argentera is located in the upper Stura valley, at an altitude of 1600 metres. The hairpin bends that lead to Colle della Maddalena, on the border with France, start from the capital. Colle della Maddalena is more than 60 km from Cuneo, an hour and a half by car on the state road 21.
It has about 80 residents.
Episodes like last week's are less and less sporadic and confirm that the Stura valley, together with the Susa valley, is increasingly one of the main routes for the passage of migrants from Italy to France.
There are already more than fifty, in just two months, the men stopped by the police. And five people arrested as they were identified as passeurs. There are presumably many more who, fortunately, managed to leave Italy and reach France clandestinely.
One January night, while the storm was raging, seven men of Pakistani origin had found refuge in a French car stuck in the snow by the roadside near the hill.
In Demonte, around midnight on 13 February, a daring accident: an Audi station wagon, which was already being chased from Borgo San Dalmazzo by two Carabinieri patrols after failing to comply with the stop for a check, arrived at high speed in the town di Demonte, overturned in a curve, breaking through a low wall. On board the vehicle, in addition to the driver, there were eleven people: young people of Pakistani origin, without documents, who were trying to reach France. None of those involved suffered serious injuries, only minor bruises.
The latest episode in chronological order was that of March 2, around 4 in the morning, when the carabinieri were alerted to the presence of some men inside a car, stuck in the snow above Argentera. Inside the car were six men, aged between 25 and 35, all of Pakistani origin too. The version of the carabinieri is incredible: "There is no trace of the passeur. Given the impossibility of proceeding, in fact, the person must have decided to abandon the car and passengers and to leave on foot, headed who knows where, perhaps expected by an accomplice further downstream."
Pakistanis mainly arrive from the Balkan route. The reason for leaving the country of origin is mainly economic but the request for protection or asylum represents the only possibility of entry into Italy. According to statistics, however, 82% of Pakistani asylum requests are rejected.
To remain in the province of Cuneo we must consider that the Colle di Tenda (traditional transit route towards Ventimiglia and the south of France) is closed after the dramatic flood of 2020 which swept the Roja valley and the Colle dell'Agnello, in the Varaita valley , one of the highest hills in Europe, is only open from May until the first snow, usually around mid-September.
Instead, goods can pass freely through the Maddalena hill (snow permitting!), a valley normally invaded by trucks, hundreds every day with devastating effects on the road network and air quality, trucks carrying plastic bottles of Sant 'Anna, which has its own factory in the valley.
Naturally, tourists can also pass freely.
However, the speech does not apply to those who do not have the right cards!
According to a police report, 7 people were arrested in 2022 for aiding and abetting illegal immigration: Pakistanis, Egyptians, Tunisians, and Congolese. According to this report, the collaboration of the Cuneo border police with the French PAF was fundamental, on the basis of agreements already made in 2019 "for the joint fight against illegal immigration through mixed units active both in Italian territory and in French territory as already it happens at other border crossings."
The agreement provides that personnel will be trained "to cope with the changed operational needs deriving not only from the exponential increase in the volume of traffic but also from the change in migratory dynamics at the borders."
Lele Odiardo

Listen to the live coverage of Blackout with Lele from the Saluzzo anti-racist coordination:

Alpine route. Storm at the border

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