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Police Uses Water Canon, Batons In Clash With Refuges(Full Details)

Police using water canon and batons clashed on Thursday with refugees who had occupied a small Rome square in defiance of an order to leave a building where they had been squatting.

Television images showed some of the refugees screaming and trying to hit police, who were dressed in riot gear, with sticks.

The square, just one block from Rome’s main train station, was strewn with mattresses, overturned rubbish bins and broken plastic chairs.

Hung on the building was a sheet with writing reading “We are refugees, not terrorists” in Italian.

A small fire burned on the pavement and a sheet hanging from a first-floor window was set alight by squatters inside.

Most of the squatters were Eritreans who had been granted asylum. Police said they had refused to accept lodging offered by the city.

In a statement, the police said the refugees had gas canisters, some of which they had opened, and officers had been hit by rocks, bottles and pepper spray.

Two people were arrested.

Amiloaded reports that on Monday, dozens of refugees protested their eviction from a central Rome office building where they had been squatting for years in the latest example of tension as authorities deal with an influx of migrants.

Some 800 people lived in the six-storey building a block from the capital’s main train station for five years until they were booted out by police early on Aug. 19.

They have since camped outside hoping the city will find them a new home.

No fewer than 600,000 boat migrants have arrived in Italy from North Africa since 2014.

Since the European Union struck a deal with Turkey in 2016 to curb the Balkan route, Italy has again become the main route for migrants headed to Europe.

Some 200,000 asylum seekers now stay in state-run shelters.

With no place to go after Saturday’s evictions, hundreds slept on the ground in the square in front of the building with their belongings packed in trash bags and suitcases.

Police accompanied some of the former inhabitants, most of whom are Eritrean and have been granted asylum, to collect things left behind, including TVs and clothes.

A banner outside read: “We are refugees, not terrorists.”

“The other day police arrived by helicopter, the stairs and in the road and they forcefully chucked us all out and took us to the police station,” said Simon Tesfamichael, an 40-year-old Eritrean with a prosthetic leg.

Tesfamichael was evicted with his wife and two children.

After checking their paper work, police released them and they returned to the square in front of the building

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