One suk in full swing at the exit of one of the busiest metro stops in the Capital. The Rome-Lido these days is packed with Romans and tourists looking for relief from the summer heat on the beaches of the Roman coast. On the way back, however, those who leave the Ostiense metro he finds himself in front of an unseemly scenario: a rummaging market.
The squatters arrive in the square in the early hours of the morning, arrange the goods on the sheets and camp with beer in hand on the walls of the flower beds. So within a few hours the gardens are filled with bottles of wine, beer and spirits. On the ground there are old shoes, dirty clothes, objects recovered from the dumpsters. But if you have the right hooks, you can also buy more. “A mobile that costs 300 euros can be found here for 50 euros”, reveals an agent engaged in one of the many blitzes that periodically go on stage to try to dismantle the market. In short, he confirms that “stolen stuff” can also be found here. “Often – he assures us – we have seen things that are not really dumpster”.
This time there is also a stopped. It is a foreign citizen accused of having assaulted a woman a few days earlier. For this the agents loaded him on a steering wheel and took him to the police station. “Here there are drunk people, a little high, and therefore violent episodes can also happen”, whispers those who are familiar with the dynamics of the illegal market. “Women – he continues – are the privileged victims, because threatening a woman is the simplest thing, she knows it better than me”.
Despite the interventions of the police and the complaints, however, the situation does not change. A week after the last raid, the squatters are still there guarding the square. “Choose what you want, it costs a whole euro”, an Algerian tries to hook us. He tells us to work in the import-export sector with the North African country. “But with Covid – he adds immediately after – everything is at a standstill”. And so now he offers trinkets for a few pennies to passers-by. The traffics go on between gatherings and no respect for the anti-contagion rules. The residents are now terrified. “Those who go to work civilly, or even tourists who enter and leave the subway, must live with the fear of being robbed or of attending bivouacs and fights,” says a regular in the area. “I only go there if it is essential – echoes a girl who walks the dog – otherwise I try to avoid, there are disreputable people”.
Claudio De Santis, president of the Ostiense neighborhood committee, has long been fighting for the area to be manned by a local police car. “When the vaccination center in via delle Cave Ardeatine opened, the squatters moved to piazzale Ostiense”, he explains. “There in the middle there is not only rumpled goods – the activist is ready to bet – but also objects of dubious origin”. “Without counting – continues De Santis – the evident critical issues of health and hygiene, all those people are gathered for hours without a mask”.
The fighters, according to the activist’s testimony, pass almost every day, but expanses of junk and bivouacs promptly return to their places. For this reason, the residents’ request is that there is a permanent garrison, at least from ten in the morning to seven in the evening. “We will continue to fight for decorum and safety, we are in a very central town hall, in front of the Cestia pyramid and the Ostiense museum: it is disconcerting – he concludes by spreading his arms – that there is such an indecent situation in the shadow of the beauties of Rome”.