Woman injured in housing protest

Rome–– A demonstration against shortages in affordable housing led to clashes between police and protestors in central Rome yesterday.

One young woman was admitted to hospital in a grave condition, requiring fifteen stitches to the head, according to the reports of several fellow demonstrators. Eye witnesses described how she was struck repeatedly with a truncheon by police officers until Andrea Alzetta, an ex councillor, shielded her from further harm. An ambulance was called to transport the girl to hospital.

The demonstration began at the Colosseum before moving off towards the Piazza della Madonna di Lorenzo. It was timed to coincide with the first sitting of the new Consiglio Comunale, but was blocked off by members of the police, armed and in full anti riot gear in Piazza Venezia.

Protestors claim that they were prevented from proceeding into the Capidoglio by an unprovoked and aggressive attack by the police. A group of demonstrators from La Destra, they claim, was permitted access.

Six others are also reported to have been injured in Piazza Venezia when the group attempted to break through the line of officers. Alzetta explained that they were looking for real answers from Marino and clear signs as to how public property was going to be allocated to meet the rising demand for cheaper, more abundant housing.

Alzetta also called for an end to forced evictions, expressing the hope that the meeting between the council and the Fifth of July Movement would offer answers to the hundred families cleared out of the Tore Tre Teste and Torre Maura earlier this year.

Housing shortages are becoming a point of increasing tension in Rome, with many young people finding themselves unable to afford climbing rents. Struggling families with dependents are also showing a decreasing capacity to keep up with mortgage repayments. Social housing in Romeis allocated according to a points based system that caused considerable controversy in February this year, when Romani families living in camps in the outskirts of the capital were denied access to official social housing.

This latest demonstration in central Rome underlines the growing schism between the demand for accommodation, and the council’s willingness, or ability, to provide it.




The protest yesterday afternoon