Police use water cannon and batons to evict refugees in Rome

Italian police have used water cannons and batons against refugees occupying Rome square.

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

Around 100 refugees had occupied the square since Saturday 13th August after they were evicted from a nearby office block where they had been living for about five years.

Protesters had hung a banner that said the words “We are refugees, not terrorists” in Italian.

“The authorities need to urgently find appropriate, alternative housing, and investigate the use of force by the police during the eviction,” said Judith Sunderland, associate director for Europe at Human Rights Watch. “It’s hard to see how the use of water cannon on people was necessary or proportionate,” she said.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, the vast majority of refugees arriving in Europe this year have landed in Italy.

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