Italian riot police have clashed with refugees occupying a square in Rome, using water cannon to douse their possessions.
The refugees fought back, launching objects at officers, and trying to hit them with sticks.
Police said they intervened because of reports that protesters planned to use gas canisters and Molotov cocktails, and officers claim they were hit by bottles, rocks and pepper spray.
About 100 people occupied the square in defiance of an order to leave an office building in which about they, and about 700 others, had been squatting for 5 years. As the riot police advanced, they displayed banners saying “We are refugees, not terrorists”.
Most of the squatters were Eritrean and had been granted asylum. However, the authorities claim that many of them had refused to accept the accommodation offered to them by the city.
Italy and the migration crisis
Italy’s on the frontline of the European migration crisis. The Italian Interior Ministry says over 600,000 migrants have arrived there by boat since 2013.
Photo captioning dissonance: Rome police ‘comforts’ a refugee woman after using water cannon to destroy their occupation home in the piazza pic.twitter.com/kt488n2C33— Southwark Notes (@SouthwarkNotes) August 24, 2017