Migrant influx 'ethnic cleansing' against Italians says Salvini

Migrant influx 'ethnic cleansing' against Italians says Salvini

The leader of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party Matteo Salvini on Monday described the growing surge of migrants arriving in Italy from Africa as deliberate "ethnic cleansing".

"We are experiencing an attempt at ethnic cleansing, to prevent Italians from living in Italy, working in factories, farms or shops," Salvini told his party's Radio Padania.

Italians faced "a country occupied by slaves, people living precariously, desperate and unemployed people," he said.

Salvini's comments came after more than 500 migrants reached Italy on Monday after being rescued in the Mediterranean at the weekend.

More than 45,000 people have reached Italy by boat from Libya this year, a more than 40 percent increase on the same period of 2016, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says.

Most of the migrants arriving in Italy are now from sub-Saharan Africa or from Bangladesh, according to IOM.