Salvini had been critical of the Mineo centre for several years as part of his anti-migration policies [Orietta Scardino/EPA]

A migrant reception centre on the Italian island of Sicily, which was once the largest in Europe, has been officially shut down. 

Italy’s hardliner Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attended the closure on Tuesday and live-streamed himself walking around the facility and speaking to journalists.

The leader of the populist League party has been a critical opponent of the Mineo centre, which housed 4,100 people at its peak in 2014.

In 2017, he spent the night in the facility and claimed to have seen what he called “organised migration” designed to “replace Italian people with other people, Italian workers with other workers”.

Speaking to reporters at

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