Police have arrested five members of a far-left extremist group in Milan after they broke into vacant public housing and illegally gave it away to migrants.
The five individuals, three Italian nationals, a Romanian, and an Angolan, are members of the far-left Autonomous Committee of Ambitanti Barona (CAAB). CAAB claims to fight against evictions and for the right to housing, Il Giornale reports.
Police allege that the group broke into uninhabited publically-owned apartments and then illegally assigned them to migrants. The new occupants pay the group between €700 and €1,400 in what investigators have labelled as bribes.
The migrants, who mostly come from non-European Union states, were also expected to take part in demonstrations against evictions and were often at the front of protests in which the group clashed with Milan police.
Investigators were tipped off to the group’s activities by a 43-year-old Moroccan migrant who had become disillusioned with CAAB’s activities and stopped showing up to demonstrations and meetings.
Former Olympic Village Becomes Migrant No-Go Zone Run by Far-Left Groups https://t.co/obfsBis0hg
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Eventually, the migrant was called on by members of CAAB to explain his absence and lack of communication. He was then allegedly physically attacked until another man, a 32-year-old, defended him.
CAAB responded to the arrests, calling them a “political attack” and claimed that the Moroccan started the physical altercation.
“As the Barona Autonomous Committee, we reject every single accusation and send it back to the sender: occupying houses for money is a mafia practice, which speculates on people’s problems, and we fight it every day,” the statement said.
Public housing for migrants has been a significant issue in many Italian cities, including in Sesto San Giovanni. Earlier this year, the city’s right-wing Mayor Roberto Di Stefano reversed a leftist policy of giving migrants priority for housing over local Italians.