This 2 October 2018 video says about itself:
Italy: Hundreds protest arrest of pro-refugee mayor
Several hundred people staged a protest in Rome on Tuesday to demonstrate their support for the arrested pro-refugee mayor of Riace, Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano.
Lucano, who achieved worldwide fame for his role in welcoming refugees to his village in the south of Italy, was arrested on charges of aiding illegal immigration on Tuesday. The protesters vented their anger at what they believe was a calculated decision by Italy’s [right-wing] coalition government to target someone who is widely seen as a champion for the integration of migrants.
Domenico Lucano is the mayor of Riace, in southern Italy. He gained worldwide attention through his innovative approach to dealing with refugees, in the context of the European migrant crisis. About 450 refugees have settled there among the 1,800 inhabitants of the village, revitalising it and preventing the closure of the village school.
Lucano came second runner-up in the 2010 World Mayor competition. …
Lucano was also listed by Fortune as one of the world’s greatest leaders in 2016; featuring at number 40 in the magazine’s listing.
By Ylenia Gostoli, 2 October 2018:
Italy’s pro-refugee mayor Domenico Lucano arrested
Domenico Lucano, known internationally for promoting migrant integration, charged with ‘aiding illegal migration’.
The mayor of an Italian town known around the world as a model of integration has been put under house arrest for ‘aiding illegal migration’.
Lucano’s partner, Tesfahun Lemlem, was banned from living in the town under the same charges.
The arrest on Tuesday morning came amid a government inquiry into the allocation of funds for refugees in the town.
Italy’s … government has adopted a hardline stance on migration controls in recent months.
Lucano has won international acclaim for ‘repopulating’ Riace with migrants and successfully integrating the arrivals.
With a population of about 1,500, the town hosts around 500 migrants and refugees from more than 20 countries.
Like other small towns across Italy, it has witnessed the massive flight of young people in recent decades, who left looking for economic opportunities elsewhere.
Lucano’s model gained international attention at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015 and he made Fortune Magazine’s 50 greatest leaders list in 2016.
Refugees and migrants in Italy are usually hosted in reception centres, most of them privately run but publicly funded, with strict rules and timetables guests have to follow.
These rules and the centres’ locations, often far from city centres, have made it difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to integrate and hold down a job.
In Riace, they have been given homes left empty by former residents. They also have the opportunity to work through a programme that has created employment among both refugees and locals – the first focused on cultural mediation and local craftsmanship and the second on language teaching.
In a Facebook post after Lucano’s arrest on Tuesday, [anti-mafia, anti-Salvini, pro-Lucano author Roberto] Saviano wrote: “the goal of Mimmo [Domenico] Lucano’s actions is not profit, but civil disobedience.”
“Civil disobedience: this is the only weapon we have to defend not only the rights of migrants, but everyone’s”, argued the author, concluding that the investigation is “the first step towards Italy’s definitive transformation from democracy to an authoritarian state.”
A number of civil society organisations have expressed concern about the arrest, which they see as yet another attack by a government that has built its popularity partly on anti-migrant rhetoric.
“It started with NGOs saving lives at sea. Now it’s the turn of those who do it on land“, wrote Naples-based anti-racism group Associazione 3 Febbraio in a statement calling for solidarity with the mayor.
For Leonardo Neglia, the mayor of Petralia Sottana, a town near Palermo with less than 3,000 residents, Lucano’s reception model is one to replicate.
Neglia had considered starting a similar project in Petralia Sottana, although the idea has been put on hold after the government’s ‘migration and security’ decree.
“Beyond technical and juridical considerations, I think his reception model should be recreated in other municipalities,” he told Al Jazeera.
“We were looking for people who would be willing to make their empty homes in the city centre available for the project. There are many, due to the depopulation of our towns as many young people leave, creating a vicious circle of impoverishment”, Neglia added.
“But this [arrest] sends a message that times have changed.”
The arrest, according to British daily The Guardian:
the suspension by the public broadcaster, Rai, of a TV show about Riace, which had been lauded as an exemplary model for integration. …
Lucano received a show of support on his Facebook page, with Riace locals calling on each other to rally together in solidarity.