Italian authorities are pressing ahead with a controversial programme to move gypsy families from one of the biggest makeshift camps in Europe.
The mayor of Rome started the campaign, which opponents claim is a political move that will prevent Roma families from integrating into society.
Many residents did not want to go.
One said: “This is the oldest camp. We’ve lived here for 40 years, and now they move us as they like. It’s not the way to treat people. We are not animals.”
More than 35 families, most of them originally from Kosovo, have already been re-located to new homes in a camp north of Rome.
The Red Cross said the operation is likely to last at least another week.
“At the beginning they were afraid to leave their homes after 40 years, but now there is the will to go, because those who are already at the new camp have called them upand said they’re doing well, there’s hot water and electricity. So we are getting great co-operation,” said Marco Squicciarini from the Italian Red Cross.
Their new camp has been properly planned, and is legal. Many more families from other illegal camps around Rome have also been moved.
Most of Italy’s Romas come from the former Yugoslavia, but without work permits or ID papers, life outside the camps is virtually impossible.