AN ITALIAN town has been accused of bringing in apartheid after refugees were banned from buses used by female students.
Migrants in the tiny town of Calizzano, Italy, have been asked to refrain from using local buses when pupils are going to and from school.
The 40 migrants, who are staying in the Lux Hotel, have been accused of screaming, fighting, bickering and engaging in “unpleasant behaviour” towards girls on the bus.
Only 1,500 people live in the town 60 miles from the French border which was meant to host just 24 migrants.
Following complaints from Italians who are annoyed refugees are taking up bus seats without having to pay for a ticket as locals are forced to stand, the mayor brought in the new separation rule.
Mayor Pierangelo Olivieri, said: “I just looked for a solution to a very difficult situation for a community like ours, which is far from centres of interest and has limited facilities and security systems, while hosting 40 guests.
“This is not a ban, but a request made to refugees to use other means of transportation from the ones students use.”
The 40 refugees are staying in the Lux Hotel in Calizzano
He stressed the initial agreement with the Government was to host 24.
And at a prefecture meeting where he was criticised for the decision, Mr Olivieri officially asked to reduce the number of refugees the town is hosting
Paolo Pezzana, coordinator of ANCI Immigration Commission in Liguria, called Calizzano a “virtuous community” which was one of the first to welcome and integrate immigrants.
However, Raffaella Paita, leader of the Democratic Party in the region, said: “The mayor’s decision to force migrants and students to take different buses is unworthy and very similar to apartheid.”
But the mayor is standing by his decision and said it was “not about racism, but about common sense”.
Calizzano only has a population of 1,500
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He added: “The citizens are living in tension and a series of episodes, maybe not serious but certainly unpleasant, are really poisoning our life and tranquillity.
“I also believe that the cause of the problems is the high number of hosted refugees in Calizzano.
“The Lux Hotel’s licence is valid for up to 24 guests and not 40.
“Calizzano is willing to host a maximum of 20 migrants, which is already, in relation to the population, an index above the average.