Police clash with refugee squatters in Rome

Some 100 refugees had occupied the square on Saturday (August 19) when about 800 squatters were evicted from an adjacent office building they had occupied for about five years. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy Aug 24, 2017, 11.28 AM (IST)

Police using a water cannon and batons clashed on Thursday (August 24) with refugee squatters who had occupied a small Rome square in defiance of an eviction order.

Video images showed some of the refugees screaming and trying to hit police, who were dressed in riot gear, with sticks in the square strewn with mattresses, overturned iron rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs.

Some 100 refugees had occupied the square on Saturday (August 19) when about 800 squatters were evicted from an adjacent office building they had occupied for about five years.

Most of the squatters were Eritreans who had been granted asylum.

Police said in a statement they decided to intervene because they had information that the refugees were planning to use gas canisters and Molotov cocktails. It said the refugees had refused to accept lodging offered by the city.

It said some gas canisters had already been opened, the police said, adding that agents were hit by rocks, bottles and pepper spray. They said two people were arrested.

Story highlights

Police using a water cannon and batons clashed on Thursday (August 24) with refugee squatters who had occupied a small Rome square in defiance of an eviction order.

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