Roma again beleaguered by protests in Rome suburbs

Protestors at Casal Bruciato. Photo credit: Il Fatto Quotidiano

ROME - Roma residents in the suburbs of Italy’s capital have again faced noisy neo-Fascist protests against their presence in the city with some calling for the itinerant people to be “burned” and “hanged.”

 Residents of Casal Bruciato, a suburb to the east of Rome, have continued to express their anger at a decision to assign a council house to 14 Roma. Dozens of residents, along with members of neo-fascist political party CasaPound, took to the streets to protest Tuesday evening saying: “We don’t want them here.”

 “We want to see them all hanged and burned,” a resident of a nearby block of flats told the press. “They held a knife to my nephew’s throat when he was 11 for the sake of a few euros.” Another resident shouted, “I will rape you” at a Roma lady. Others present suggested bringing back World War II Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to sort out the matter.

 The father of a recently installed Roma family spoke of his family being threatened by the protestors. “They told us they would throw bombs at us and beat us. My children saw and heard this all and now… they are afraid. So much so that we were escorted by the police to go and do our shopping.” He went on to add that his family had every right to live in the house, one they had been assigned by the Rome city council.

 Rosalba Castiglione, a Rome City Heritage Councillor, told Il Fatto Quotidiano: “The issue is created by a few idiots who want to exploit fear a month before the European elections… The [Roma] children thought it was a party to welcome them, but instead they were greeted by insults and threats.”

 “One little girl will have to be taken to hospital following serious panic attacks… I am ashamed to have to explain to these families that their rights will be protected because they are fully entitled to them [in the first place].”

 Rome's Mayor Virginia Raggi was also quick to denounce the protests. "The family is a legitimate assignee of the property... whoever insults children and threatens to rape women should do some soul-searching. We cannot continue to live in a society like this."

 The protests follow similar demonstrations in April that saw around 60 Roma forced out of a refuge centre after over 300 local residents took to the streets in the Torre Maura suburb to object to their arrival. Protestors, on that occasion, set fire to rubbish bins and cars, confronted aid workers, destroyed food intended for the Roma inside the shelter, and made fascist salutes.