Rome's Cinema America Occupato cleared

Police evict activists from occupied space

The Cinema America Occupato building in Trastevere, which has been occupied illegally by activists and artists since November 2012, was cleared by police on the morning of 3 September.

Officers evicted a small number of people inside the cinema building on Via Natale del Grande without incident.

The police were called in by the owners of the property who wish to turn the building into 20 mini-apartments and two floors of parking space.

The evacuation occurred a week after Italy's culture minister Dario Franceschini announced the launch of a directive to protect Italian cinemas in existence since 1980 and which have "significant connections to the political, military, literary, artistic and cultural history of our country."

Franceschini made the remarks at the Venice Film Festival, citing the story of Cinema America as an example. The eviction also comes one month after Franceschini's visit to the cinema during which he assured the occupants of his support.

In April the campaign to save the building from redevelopment received a major boost after the Italian culture ministry recognised the historic and artistic value of the structure.

Built in the 1950s, the cinema ceased screening films to the public in 1999 and was abandoned until 13 November 2012 when a group of activists took it over.

For more details on Rome's occupied movement see related article.