An NGO rescue boat captain who has risked jail time after forcing her way into Lampedusa port in Italy with 40 migrants onboard has defended her act of "disobedience", saying it was necessary to avert a tragedy.
As Carola Rackete appeared before an Italian court on charges of landing without permission and endangering a police vessel, Germany demanded her immediate release.
'You must handcuff her immediately, ' a woman shouted before Ms Rackete was hustled into a police auto.
She denied Inside Minister Matteo Salvini's accusation that she had tried to ram the boat in an "act of battle". Authorities in Malta had also refused port entry to the Sea-Watch 3.
Ms Rackete's lawyer told Italian state TV she was arrested on Saturday for "investigation of resisting a warship".
No-one was injured but the motorboat's side was damaged.
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Live television video showed the 31-year-old Rackete being taken off Sea-Watch 3 by tax police and driven away amid applause and barracking from bystanders.
Carola Rakete was arrested on Saturday when she docked after spending two weeks in worldwide waters with dozens of rescued African migrants on-board. Speaking to German daily newspaper Welt, Bystron said she should have taken the rescued refugees to Africa or the Netherlands since the ship sailed under the Dutch flag.
Salvini said the Lampedusa arrivals would be divided up between France, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland and Portugal. "Thousands of migrants are pushed back at the Italian border with France", Salvini said.
Sea-Watch 3 was one of the first migrant rescue vessels to test Italy's newest hardline migration laws.
Rackete says the Sea-Watch was forced to enter Italian waters after trying to cooperate with several different European ports.
"After 16 days following the rescue, (hash) SeaWatch3 enters in port", the organisation tweeted early Saturday, shortly before the ship started heading dockside.
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According to analyst Giorgio Gandola, Ms Rackete's interest in the 42 migrants aboard her vessel was marginal, while her true objective was creating an global incident by confronting Mr Salvini and drawing attention to herself.
Prosecutors in Sicily have launched a probe into Rackete on suspicion of aiding illegal immigration.
Any fine might be covered by a reported 100,000 euros supporters in Italy recently donated to help Sea-Watch. Italian Interior Minister branded the captain, who was taken into custody, as an "outlaw" who put the lives of the police at risk.
"But that said, this could still be an attempt to commit violence", said Francesco Munari, a professor at the Genoa Institute for International, European and Maritime Law, who cited portions of the Italian navigation code.
Anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken a tough stance on humanitarian rescue boats bringing migrants to Italy.
"When you rescue people at sea you must take them to the nearest safe port", Ms Sadik said.
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