• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italy squatters plea for stop to evictions
Italian police clashed with squatters who are being evicted during the Catholic 'Year of Mercy'. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy squatters plea for stop to evictions

AFP · 5 Jan 2016, 17:37

Published: 05 Jan 2016 17:37 GMT+01:00

Uniformed and plain-clothes officers scuffled with members of RAM, the acronym of the Metropolitan Housing Resistance group which organised the protest, and its spokesman said nine people had been detained.
   
Demonstrators held a sit-in atop scaffolding on a building opposite Rome's prefecture and hung banners reading "Stop evictions" and "We are not terrorists".
   
In the street below, some 100 Italians and foreigners called for Rome to address a growing housing crisis.
   
"Every day there are between 30 and 50 families in Rome put out on the street," said Omero Lauri, 51, RAM spokesman.
   
"The situation has got much worse recently with the excuse of terrorism," he said, with fears of jihadist violence since the Paris attacks last year leading to heightened concerns over undocumented people living off the radar.
   
But Alejandro Moncada from Equador, 35, said security issues were just an excuse to intensify evictions.
   
"The irony is that it is the pope's Year of Mercy," he said, in reference to a special Jubilee year called by Francis from December 8th, during which pilgrims are urged to dedicate more time to merciful acts and helping the disadvantaged.
   
"This year should be about helping the weak, not treating us like terrorists," said the father-of-one, who has been in Italy for 12 years along with his wife and parents, but struggles to find work as a cleaner.
   
Campaigners last year said forced evictions of ethnic Roma in particular in the Italian capital had more than tripled since Francis announced the special "year of mercy", which sent the city on a clean-up spree.
   
According to the latest available figures from the Interior Ministry, some 36,000 families were expelled from their homes in Italy in 2014, and the number of evictions has risen by 69 percent since 2005, largely because of the economic crisis.
   
An investigation by Italy's Panorama magazine put the number of lodgings lying empty in 2014 in the Italian capital at 50,000 units. According to Rome city council figures, at least 90 such properties were occupied by squatters.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Cat rescued after 32 days trapped in quake rubble
Rocco the cat after being rescued. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

Rocco the cat survived 32 days in the ruins in Amatrice.

Tourists fined €900 for drinking on Rome's Spanish Steps
A picture of the incident circulated by police. Photo: Rome police

The steps had been open less than 24 hours when the first fines were handed out...

Seven reasons autumn is the best time to visit Italy
Beautiful sunsets and empty streets: That's autumnn in Rome. Photo: Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Say goodbye to the hordes of tourists and hello to wine season, stunning colours and regional food festivals.

An end to fashion elitism? Not in Milan...
Stylist Viviana Volpicella posing after the Dolce & Gabbana show. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The city's mayor argues that the public should be able to participate more in Fashion Week.

Generations of glamour unite to toast Bottega Veneta
US star Lauren Hutton takes to the runway with the Bottega bag from American Gigolo. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Hollywood icon Lauren Hutton joined Gigi Hadid on the catwalk as the world of glamour united across the generations to celebrate 50 years of venerated Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta.

Interview
'My problem is too many ideas': Italy's couture king
Francois Guillot / AFP

Giambattista Valli says his fledgling ready-to-wear line is thriving -- thanks to spillover synergy from a haute couture operation that has made him a darling of the celebrity A-list set.

Italy orders man to buy feminist books for prostitute
An image of a customer meeting a prostitute. Photo: Italian investigators

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women's dignity, Italian media reported Friday.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

For one day only: €1 nighttime entry to Italy's cultural sites
Fancy getting up close and personal with David after dark? Photo

Saturday is European Heritage Day, and Italy is celebrating with €1 entry to many of its most famous sites.

The real reasons young Italians aren't having kids
Why have Italians seemingly stopped making babies? File photo: Pexels

Italy's government is campaigning to get Italians to have babies - but what are the reasons behind the slowing birthrate?

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,529
jobs available