Europe

Wind Stops Move of Tunisians to Italian Mainland

Migrants on a boat approach the Lampedusa harbor, Italy, Monday, March 28, 2011. Fishermen have used empty migrants' boats to block the entrance to Lampedusa harbor, a mostly symbolic act which still raised cheers from townsfolk gathered on the quays. News reports Monday said the boats, which had been seized by Italian authorities, were used to block the tiny island's port. Officials reported 460 migrants arrived from North Africa overnight, joining 3,000 more who have arrived in the last three days and escalating tensions on the island, closer to Africa than to mainland Italy.

Migrants on a boat approach the Lampedusa harbor, Italy, Monday, March 28, 2011. Fishermen have used empty migrants' boats to block the entrance to Lampedusa harbor, a mostly symbolic act which still raised cheers from townsfolk gathered on the quays. News reports Monday said the boats, which had been seized by Italian authorities, were used to block the tiny island's port. Officials reported 460 migrants arrived from North Africa overnight, joining 3,000 more who have arrived in the last three days and escalating tensions on the island, closer to Africa than to mainland Italy.  (AP2011)

ROME -- Tunisians who fled their homeland are growing frustrated on a tiny Italian island because strong winds are preventing ferries from transferring them to the mainland.

Some 3,500 Tunisians have been waiting on Lampedusa since Thursday for ferry transfers to holding centers on the Italian peninsula to resume. Hundreds of Tunisians already transferred to the centers simply hopped fences to run away in hopes of reaching France.

Border police Maj. Fabrizio Pisanelli says transfers will resume as soon as winds calm down, possibly by late afternoon.

Pisanelli says a smoky fire broke out Saturday on Lampedusa's dock, and a young Tunisian man was detained by police after fellow migrants told authorities he had set the blaze. No one was injured.