ROME – Asylum seekers and refugees currently fear a confrontation with Rome’s riot police, where metal bars went up infront of the doors of a former abandoned newspaper’s office, La Stampa, where around 130 people reside.
The occupants found out about City Hall’s plan to evict them, noting that these measures come as part of a drive by the Italian authorities to crack down on the growing number of people taking residence in disused buildings.
It is estimated that 10,000 asylum seekers and refugees in Italy are living in unarranged settlements and tents in the open air, where various are still awaiting the fate of their asylum claim. On the other hand, there are those who have been granted refugee status, but say little if any help has been done to help them access social services.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has visited all refugee sites along with La Stampa ‘s office and Turin’s former Olympic village which is housing 1,000 people; MSF stated it had found an invisible population surviving on the margins of society.
La Stampa Living Conditions
La Stampa refugees suffer from the living conditions where they live in rooms built with breezeblocks, and self-built and customized bathrooms. One Eritrean man confesses that he’s feeling mentally and physically destructively influenced by the precarious situation saying “It is difficult to tell you how cold it gets.”
Moreover, the man who did not reveal his identity expressed his struggle after being granted asylum without further support; “They threw us on the street after they gave us documents, like rubbish,” he said.