Students from Sapienza University yesterday began the occupation of a residential house in Pigneto, Rome, as part of the direct actions being taken against the G8. More than 80 students occupied the space and will hold an assembly tomorrow where they will invite the University authorities and muncipality to hear their request to live in the building, which has been empty for more than 10 years. The occupiers intend to turn the building into a self-organised student house for 20 people to live in, since the rent in Rome is considerably disproportionate to the financial support available to students, and less than 4% of the 180,000 students at Sapienza are able to receive housing support from the University.
The student group are demanding basic income, housing and welfare for all, including students, and reject the dwindling financial subsidy that Universities receive from the government. One student, doing her Masters in Political Science, explained the hypocrisy of the Italian government and the other G8 member states, who claim to be able to manage and support foreign economic development when home policy is of such poor standard: "It is the system of debt and repayment that has caused this financial crisis in the first place. The people cannot afford to pay the money back to the banks."
This occupation is one of many happening in Italy and Greece in response to G8 economic and educational policies. Last week 21 students were arrested across Italy for actions against the G8 University Summit in Torino in May. 15 of these have since been imprisoned. Today a press conference is being held by students in Torino.