Evening has fallen on Piazza Manfredo Fanti. A girl briskly walks along the Roman Aquarium, a few steps from the Termini Station. There is a closed circuit camera that intercepts her movements and those of the man who, shortly thereafter, appears behind her. A twenty-one year old Tunisian who pushes her abruptly between the parked cars and snatches her cell phone from her hand.
She screams. His are screams of terror. Fortunately, there is someone on the street who listens to them. “My wife went down to take out the garbage, she was scared to death, she called me screaming and I immediately alerted the police“, a resident tells us.” It is not the first nor will it be the last robbery that occurs in the neighborhood, here the situation has now become unbearable “, the man vented. While we were talking to him, a North African sipping beer leaning against a wall. All around the smell of human excrement is very strong.
Despite the tightening of measures to stem contagions from coronavirus, Termini station remains a free zone. The business card for thousands of tourists and business men and women are dozens of people lying on the ground. You hardly see some of them, their faces are barely perceived under blankets and cardboard. But they are there, they are there. A real army of invisible, camp along sidewalks or in front of subway entrances.
Someone sleeps, someone staggers in the crowd. Almost no one wears a mask. The virus that paralyzes the whole world does not scare them. “Everything happens at the behest of God, only he decides whether we should get sick or not “, a Tunisian tries to persuade us. He has a mask in his pocket.” What shall I do? It’s a question of destiny “, he continues. The same goes for a Senegalese boy. He has a blank stare.” Covid? It doesn’t scare me, “he assures us as he wanders aimlessly near the parking lot of Piazza dei Cinquecento. “I wait for Pope Francis to notice me – he tells us – only he can help me”.
“We tell him not to gather and put on the mask, but controlling them all is impossible and this situation risks becoming dangerous”, comments an Interpol agent. “Why do they not respect the rules when they come to our country? At this rate we will never leave the tunnel ofsanitary emergency“, echoes a colleague.
But the list of rules broken by those who survive in the shadow of the railway junction is still long. “You have to be careful, especially of immigrants, they snatch, sell drugs and attack. Here the evening is the far west. For heaven’s sake, don’t come “, the two warn us.
“A few days ago a client of mine was chased by a fool into our bar albergo, to remove him the barman had to threaten him with a broom “, he tells us Giuseppe Roscioli, president of Federalberghi Rome and owner of a hotel in via Marsala. “We have alerted the police who have taken him away, who knows where he is now? Maybe again on the loose”, speculates the hotelier.
We hear many stories like this around the main railway junction of the capital. He knows it well Michele Sprovara, Coisp policeman and trade unionist: “Between drug dealing, prostitution, mugging and assaults, the situation in the areas adjacent to the station is quite critical”. There crime from the street here seems to be the master.
“It is mainly maladjusted people who commit crimes. People who attack just to steal a gold necklace or a few tens of euros”, explains Sprovara. “Small thefts, made to buy alcohol or a dose of drugs: the paradox – continues the trade unionist – is that, often, after a few days we find them in the area to commit a crime again because the crime is not so serious as to require custody in prison “.
According to him, the problem lies first of all in the certainty of the punishment: “For them it practically does not exist, and so they feel omnipotent”. In this sense, the revision of the security decrees wanted by the former Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, worries the police: “We’ll see, the fear is that there will be some more problems in managing this type of situation”.