Rome mayor pledges to close Roma camps

Raggi says Barbuta and Monachina campsites to close within two years.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has pledged to close the city's Roma camps, after having secured €3.8 million in European Union funds to dismantle the sites and help relocate and assist their former residents.

Raggi said the demolition of the campsites would put an end to them being used as a "feeding trough" for Mafia Capitale, a reference to the alleged crime syndicate involving former city officials and criminals accused of creaming off funds for the capital's Roma camps.

The mayor said the project rests on four pillars: education, employment, health and housing, and that the funds would help the thousands of Roma and Sinti people currently living in the makeshift camps in the suburbs of Rome.

Raggi said the city would begin with the Barbuta camp, near Ciampino airport in south-east Rome, and La Monachina, north of Villa Ada. Together the camps are home to over 700 people.

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