Part of the eviction operation of the Baobab Experience center in Rome. (Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi)
Part of the eviction operation of the Baobab Experience center in Rome. (Photo: ANSA/Massimo Percossi)

Italian police cleared out a migrant camp managed by the Baobab Experience association near the Tiburtina train station in Rome. It's the twenty-second eviction in three years, turning "about a hundred people" out on the streets, say activists.

A camp run by Baobab Experience volunteers which provides food and shelter to migrants near to Rome's Tiburtina railway station was cleared by police in the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 13. Around 200 migrants were in the camp at the time of the operation, sources said. The migrants were asked for ID papers and those without were subsequently taken to the immigration office in the Italian capital to be identified. After the operation, the tents were set up again. The Tiburtina train station camp has repeatedly been taken down and reconstructed. 

Twenty-two evictions in 3 years for Baobab

''After the eviction, about a hundred people will end up on the streets. We will continue to do our duty in taking them in," said Andrea Costa, a coordinator with Baobab Experience. "But we hope the city council will find places for them.''

This is only the latest in a long string of evictions of the camp but ''I am afraid that this time the closing will be final,'' Costa added. "Social issues are solved like this in Rome: police and bulldozers. A capital hill under the Five Star Movement (M5S, the party of Mayor Virginia Raggi) is no different from either the previous town councils or the (far-right) League. It is an unending shame for this city,'' Baobab Experience wrote in a tweet.

''There are almost 80,000 migrants in transit in Rome who we have received over these years at the center in Piazzale Maslax,'' Costa continues. ''This is the 22nd eviction in three years. The first was on December 6, 2015." The Rome city council reports that 75 migrants from the Baobab center have been inserted into its reception circuit over the past week.

Minister Salvini satisfied despite condemnation from the left

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has expressed satisfaction about the eviction. ''Free zones, in which there is neither a state nor legality, will no longer be tolerated. This is what we promised, and this is what we're delivering. And it does not end here — from words to facts,'' Salvini, who is also the deputy prime minister, said. The right-wing party Fratelli d'Italia was happy about the news as well, noting that ''we applaud the intervention that freed the camp structure.''

Left-wing and center-left parties expressed solidarity with the migrants and condemned the operation. ''The eviction of the Baobab center in Rome is the latest in a long string of a useless, erroneous, and repressive escalation,'' said the national secretary of Sinistra Italiana, Nicola Fratoianni. Democratic Party (PD) senator Monica Cirinnà echoed his words, saying that ''the eviction of the Baobab migrant reception camp ordered by Minister Salvini with the approval of Mayor Raggi is a cruel, uncivilized and inhumane act.''

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