Police in Rome use water cannon on refugees who have been protesting their eviction from an office building where they lived for five years. David Doyle reports.
Police turn water cannon on refugees in Rome. And the refugees fight back with sticks. These people were evicted from an office building they were squatting in on Saturday. Since then around 100 refugees, mostly Eritreans who have been granted asylum, have been camped out in this square. The area littered with mattresses, broken chairs and trash bags holding their belongings. Rome has no state-run shelters for refugees after they have been through the asylum process, forcing many to sleep rough or squat to find a home. The refugees had lived in the office building for five years, a block away from Rome's main train station. Police said in a statement that the refugees had gas canisters, some of which they had opened, and that officers were hit with rocks, bottles and pepper spray. They added that the group had refused lodgings offered by the city. Migration is dominating the political agenda in Italy ahead of elections early next year. Almost 600,000 have arrived in Italy over the past four years, to a country where public opinion is increasingly hostile to migrants.