ROME : Hundreds of people remained camped out on a square in central Rome on Sunday in an unsanctioned protest to call for an end to austerity and evictions and for more affordable housing.

Tens of thousands had marched through Rome in a mostly peaceful demonstration on Saturday to draw attention to the social cost of the economic crisis, and some later set up a tent camp.

“Let’s Take Back the City” read a banner at the camp, which is blocking a major throughway in the Italian capital. Another banner said: “Stop to evictions, clear-outs and repossessions”.

“The camp is not a point of arrival but the beginning of the uprising,” read a slogan on the website of protest organisers, the Civic Coordination for the Struggle for Housing.

One organiser, Paolo Di Vetta, said Transport and Infrastructure Minister Maurizio Lupi had agreed to meet a delegation from the protesters on Tuesday to discuss the housing situation.

A painful two-year recession in Italy has pushed unemployment levels to record highs, shut down thousands of businesses and forced many young Italians to move abroad to look for work.

Many people are struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments and to afford rent, leading to a sharp increase in evictions and repossessions.