More than 1,300 migrants brought ashore in Italy as locals march for shipwreck victims

© Valeria Ferraro, AP

Three boats overcrowded with migrants were brought safely to Italian ports on Saturday, the coastguard said, as thousands of marchers remembered the victims of last month's deadly shipwreck off Calabria's coast.

The rescue of more than 1,300 migrants came the same day as three more bodies from the shipwreck nearly two weeks ago were found, bringing the death toll to 76.

The bodies recovered were those of two girls, both under the age of 10, and that of an adult male, said Italian news reports.

The February 26 shipwreck just off the shore of Calabria, has drawn sharp criticism of the right-wing government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for its failure to intervene in time to save the migrants.

In Cutro on Saturday, near the site of the disaster, thousands of marchers accompanied a cross made of splintered wood from the shipwreck, which was carried through the streets to the water's edge.

"This cross is a symbol of suffering today," said Domenico "Mimmo" Lucano, a former Calabrian mayor, the ANSA news agency.

"During these emergencies, Calabrian communities are shaken, and what prevails is a spirit of solidarity that the government doesn't show," he said.

Lucano is known for his activism on behalf of migrants.

On the defensive

On Friday, the coastguard began a rescue operation of three boats, one south of the Calabrian city of Crotone and two further south off Roccella Ionica.


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