Rome Protests Miserable Conditions
Thousands protested the horrid degradation of the Italian capital in Rome’s ancient forum on Saturday. The organizers’ message, “Roma dice basta,” or “Rome says enough,” is now trending online. Outside city hall, citizens condemned Mayor Virginia Raggi for not addressing large quantities of garbage and potholes in the roads, among other concerns.
Raggi, Rome’s first female mayor, was elected along with her populist Five Star Movement in 2016. She is now standing trial for alleged misconduct over a debated appointment in her administration. Although she has denied the accusation, she asserts she will resign if found guilty in the Nov. 10 verdict.
Rome’s issues go beyond its erratic garbage pickup, which has led to wild boar sightings in the streets. Unmended potholes have been compared to Swiss cheese, while a lack of upkeep has caused over 20 public buses to catch fire.
On Oct. 23, a Rome metro system escalator malfunctioned, suddenly and drastically speeding up. As the escalator accelerated, people piled up at the bottom and one man’s foot was partially severed. 24 people were hurt in the accident.
Adding to the city’s chaos, on Oct. 19, the body of Italian teenager Desirée Mariotini was discovered in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Rome which is known for drug trafficking. Mariotini was drugged, raped, and murdered in a neglected building, and migrants from Senegal and Nigeria were arrested in connection with the crime.
Following the incident, populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini denounced Rome’s municipal government and threatened to bulldoze part of the San Lorenzo area.
Saturday’s peaceful protest of about 8,000 people against Mayor Raggi’s populist Five Star Movement was led in part by Emma Amiconi. “Citizens are exasperated with daily life,” she explained.
The political future of Rome lies in doubt as the utter irritation of its citizens threatens Raggi’s populist government.