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ROME (AP) — Italy’s hard-line interior minister is defending his reported decision to relocate migrants from a southern city that became a model of integration.

Italian media report that Matteo Salvini decreed Oct. 9 that public works projects catering to migrants in Riace, in southern Reggio Calabria, must end and the migrants will be transferred.

Salvini tweeted Sunday that an investigation of public spending in Riace began under Italy’s previous Democratic government, yet the now-opposition Democratic Party referred to his order as “deportations.”

Riace Mayor Domenico Lucano was put under house arrest this month as part of an investigation into the allocation of a half-million euros in public funds to house refugees and asylum-seekers. Lucano has denied accusations he aided illegal immigration.

Democrats, meanwhile, have called for national protests of Salvini’s decree.