The Latest: Pope lights candle for migrants
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The latest developments as tens of thousands of people make their way to Europe and across the continent, seeking safety and a better life. All times local.
Pope Francis has lit a candle to symbolize hope for migrants at the same moment a Christmas tree was illuminated in front of St. Francis’ Basilica in Assisi.
The pope called himself Francis at his 2013 election to honor the Assisi saint and to stress the saint’s dedication to the poor. On Sunday evening at the Vatican, Pope Francis lit an oil candle to symbolically represent lighting the tall tree in Assisi. At the foot of the tree is a wooden fishing boat used by North African migrants to sail to Lampedusa, Sicily, in 2014. Refugees were invited to attend the Assisi tree ceremony.
In a video hookup, the pope told the migrants their hearts may be pained but their heads are “high in the hope of the Lord.”
Dutch military police have discovered 17 migrants hiding in a truck on board a ferry that was about to depart from the town Hook of Holland to the British port of Harwich.
Police said Sunday that a sniffer dog discovered 16 Iraqi men, aged between 15 and 32, and a 25-year-old Syrian woman on Saturday night following a tip from the ferry operator. The truck’s Polish driver was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling.
Later in the evening two young men from Syria and Iraq were detained as they attempted to climb into a truck.