Hundreds of people gathered in Rome on Tuesday to protest the government's new plans to crack down on migrants.
The country's senate is due to take up proposed legislation put forward by the government of far-right Premier Giorgia Meloni that aims to make it harder for migrants to gain temporary permission to stay in Italy.
Coalition ally Matteo Salvini, who leads the anti-migrant League party, wants the country to eliminate a status known as “special protection” for many of the tens of thousands of migrants who have come ashore in Italy over the last few years, many aboard smugglers' boats launched from Libya, Tunisia, Turkey and other places.
That status allows migrants who are unlikely to win refugee status to stay in Italy for two years, pending renewal. During this time, they can work legally and rent housing.
Mamadou Kouassi, the spokesperson for migration charity Caserta Migrants Refugees Movement, called on the government to stop these plans.
"We live in this country, and we want a residence permit, we want to work and participate in the economy and development of this country", Kouassi added.
Mamadou fled from Ivory Coast in 2005 in a dinghy and was rescued by the Italian Coast Guard.
The protesters included various trade unions, associations, NGOs and politicians.
Elly Schlein, the new secretary of the Democratic Party, the main opposition party, also attended the rally.
Additional sources • AP