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Roma in Italy Begin Leaving Camps

Italian police began moving out Roma (gypsies) living in one of the largest camps in Europe. Around 50 Roma, mainly of Bosnian origin, were the first group of more than 600 living in the Casilino 900 camp in Rome. They were taken to their new homes in Rome. Italian police officers and Red Cross officials were on hand to assist them as they left the Casilino 900 camp, that has been in existence in Rome for the past 40 years.

Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno called the transfer a success and a very important day for the Italian capital and the nomadic community. He said authorities want all illegal and tolerated Roma camps to disappear by the end of the year and in a few years all the others must no longer exist as well.

He added that such camps must become only a temporary thing. It's no longer possible to have the shameful situation of camps without running water and filled with garbage. These people must be given a document that gives them rights and they must be assisted to find work.

The first group of around 50 Roma to leave the camp was mainly of Bosnian origin. They were taken to a nearby camp with proper homes with running water. More than 600 Roma live in the camp. Authorities hope to completely evacuate Casilino 900 by the beginning of February. But not all of the camp residents want to leave.

This woman says she had lived in Casilino 900 for 35 years. Her ten children grew up here, got married and she has 62 grandchildren.

They are all here, she says, in their homes here in the camp. "My grandchildren live here as well and what they are doing is not right. It's not right that they are creating problems among us," she added.

Others are pleased they are finally getting better living conditions. They have had enough of living amid the dirt and want a better future for their children.

Hakisa, who was been living in the camp for years, said the whole of Europe considers this a disgrace. He has six children and they are forced to study by candlelight in the evening. Hakisa said he was happy to leave although it will be sad to see a crane demolish the home which he built with his bare hands.