World

Rome eyes buildings confiscated from Mafia to house migrants

Rome authorities are looking into whether buildings confiscated from the Mafia can be used to house migrants following violent clashes when police tried to evacuate a building occupied by squatting migrants.

Mayor Virginia Raggi says city officials are mapping out the confiscated real estate to determine if any buildings are suitable for temporary housing.

Rome authorities and police have come under withering criticism after officers used water cannons against asylum seekers last week.

The migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Ethiopia, had camped out on a central piazza after being evicted from a building they had occupied since 2013. Police said the raids were necessary because the migrants had cooking gas canisters and other flammable materials.

The U.N. refugee agency denounced the evictions, especially when adequate alternative housing arrangements weren't provided.