A 20-year old young woman lying on the ground with her face covered in blood: this happened yesterday in Rome, when a rally demanding more public housing was brutally charged by the police.
The movement for the right to affordable housing is very active in Rome, with hundreds of occupations, rallies and assemblies to prevent evictions, and public initiatives calling for affordable housing. On July 1, associations and collectives called a demo in the city center, demanding a moratorium on house evictions, which affect the weakest and the poorest in times of economic hardship.
The rally was not authorized to enter Piazza del Campidoglio, home of the Mayoral Office, allegedly because of a planned concert; however, a rally of the ultra-right wing formation La Destra had been authorized to take place in the very same square. Anti-riot police blocked the path of the demonstrators as soon as they reached Piazza Venezia, before they could approach the area in question.
The police charges were very violent, with batons used on unarmed and defenseless protesters. One of them, Stefania Giorioso, had to seek medical help and needed 15 stitches in her forehead. She has since publicly denounced the brutality of police on national television. Mayor Marino later visited her in the hospital, as a gesture of public reconciliation.
Following the episode in Naples earlier in May, this is the second time under the new cabinet that police have attacked left-wing protesters in order to protect far-right activists.