Italian police use water cannon against Ethiopian & Eritrean refugees occupying Rome square

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Protesting refugees. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA

Police in riot gear clash with refugees near main train station after about 800 were evicted from office building on Saturday

Police using water cannon and batons have clashed with refugees who had occupied a square in Rome in defiance of an order to leave a building where they had been squatting.

Television images from the dawn operation showed people screaming and trying to hit police, who were dressed in riot gear, with sticks.

The square, one block from Rome’s main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs.

Refugees and police face each other. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/AP

Hung on the building was a sheet made into a banner saying: “We are refugees, not terrorists,” in Italian. A small fire burned on the pavement and a sheet hanging from a first-floor window was set alight by squatters inside.

A banner hanging on the building on Wednesday saying: ‘We are not terrorists, we want a house to live [in].’ Another said: ‘We are refugees, not terrorists.’ Photograph: Andrea/Pacific/Barcroft Images
Witnesses who arrived at the square after the clearance operation described a scene of carnage.

“When I arrived at about 9am trash was scattered all over. About 50 people were still in the square, which had been partially closed down to traffic in the meantime. They were sad, frustrated and with no idea where to go,” said Francesco Conte, founder of TerminiTv, an online channel based in Rome’s Termini train station.

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About 100 people had occupied the square since Saturday, when most of about 800 squatters were evicted from an adjacent office building they had occupied for about five years.

Police said the refugees had refused to accept lodging offered by the city and that the operation was also necessitated by the risk presented by the presence of cooking gas canisters and other flammable materials in the square, which is surrounded by apartment buildings.

Most of the squatters were Eritreans and Ethiopians who had been granted asylum. Many have been in the country for up to a decade. They ran the building as a self-regulating commune that outsiders were not permitted to enter.


The refugees have previously complained that the accommodation offered to them elsewhere is not of a permanent nature, and that moving would result in the community they have established being split up. The area around the square is full of shops owned by the refugees’ compatriots.

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In a statement, the police said the refugees had gas canisters, some of which they had opened, and officers had been hit by rocks, bottles and pepper spray. Two people were arrested.


The vast majority of refugees and migrants reaching Europe this year have landed in Italy, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Public opinion is increasingly turning against newcomers as well as those who have been in the country for a number of years.

“The authorities need to urgently find appropriate, alternative housing, and investigate the use of force by the police during the eviction,” said Judith Sunderland, associate director for Europe at Human Rights Watch. “It’s hard to see how the use of water cannon on people was necessary or proportionate,” she said.

Source: The Guardian 

A police officer comforts a woman. Photograph: Angelo Carconi/EPA


  1. italian fascist invade killing millions people displacing millions using mustard gas now they are revenge hate mongers racist as well

  2. I am saddened for my people in Italy! Italians are our archaic enemies. They committed the most unacceptable crimes against us: example “Ethiopian prisoners were frequently used for target practice, shot first in the testicles and then in the chest.” Source:

    Now, you are in Italy (in their absolute hands) but you have the absolute Ethiopian mind/identities. Don’t give up! You have all the right to claim life there because they have ruined our nationhood and opportunities.

  3. they sould sent them back

    but they will still keep them sincethey are assets of the country

    many europeans who are not in aposition to secure job will potentially exploit them brutally in the name of “help ”

    could you please tell tomany ofyour fellow country men to stay at home regadless of the problem you may have at home.

    sincethingsareworseandgetting exacerbating in europe

    legalisedslavery is in underway court rooms,lawyersare corrupted pleaseteach ethm

    i do’t mean TPLF is fine all leadersarecorrupted regadless of their ethnic background or religion


  4. Italy including Vatican and its European allies crushed our nationhood in many facets: human lives, survivers and descendants agonize due to the horror, our national/individual/future opportunities/options were compromised.

    There is no other society in the world which survived more than a century old direct and disguised yet multifaceted war.


    Post cold war all against Ethiopia war:
    And they fed it:
    but they knew this:

    Hence, Ethiopians all over the world should know and keep in heart that our enemies are beyond the sea shores. It is very often difficult to explain but it is absolute truth. A brother presented it well based on religious knowledge:

    Ethiopians, resist the human evil against you. We will again win evil and humanity shall be free again!!!!

  5. Ethiopians, resist the human evil against you. We will again win evil and humanity shall be free again!!!!

    I love this advice!

    God Bless Ethiopia!

  6. italian mafiya woch nachwo hulum awuropawuyan leboch nachw leras sikorsu ayasansu endemibalew ye africa meriwochin sim mestet yawkubetal lerasachew the leat corrupted and a country of freedom , equality and brotherhood

    while they are the most corrupted inhumane and robbers of all times

    they the ones who spoli africans and their leaders

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