Police raids in Romani camps in Rome, Italy
15 May 1998
Recent information gathered by the ERRC indicates regularly occurring widespread police abuse of Roma in Rome, Italy. Police raids carried out in camps inhabited by Roma, more often than not involving use of force, are typical. In the camp called „Casilino 900" on the outskirts of Rome, for instance, the home of approximately 300 persons, Ms S.S., one of the inhabitants, told the ERRC on February 24, 1998, that police arrive early morning in large numbers, enter and search every van and hut, indiscriminately confiscating jewellery, money and other objects they find. The last such raid reportedly took place on February 20, 1998, four days before the ERRC visit. According to Ms S.S., the police often resort to violence during the raids, separate men and women into two groups and keep them standing in lines for long periods of time. The raids reportedly often lead to group arrests, with police bringing Romani individuals to the police station and keeping them in detention for several hours, without any explanation or formal charges.
Roma in other camps visited by the ERRC, as well as representatives of other organisations working in Romani camps in Rome, report similar activity by the police. In one camp, Roma stated that police raids against them have taken place in the middle of the night as well. Another camp in Rome called „Via del Foro Italico", is reportedly subjected to daily checks by the police, sometimes involving as many as sixty officers. These raids are often carried out together with members of the carabinieri, a paramilitary force under the competence of the Ministry of Defence. Police conduct in other camps in Italy, as well as the deplorable living conditions there are the subject of articles in Roma Rights, Autumn 1997 and Winter 1998 issues.