A secret organization fixing Rome’s broken pavement illegally

There are an estimated 10,000 potholes in Rome. Their number has increased fivefold over the past eight years.

Around the streets of Rome, twenty hooded activists, quietly fix potholes, paint pedestrian crossings and collect the rubbish, without official permission – is technically illegal.

The group called GAP has no permission to do what it does, they act mainly at night, with their faces covered and in complete anonymity.

Gap stands for Gruppo di Artigiani di Pronto Intervento (groups of artisan emergency services) and is also at the same time a tribute to the partisans of the Patriotic Action Groups.

“We chose this name because many of our parents or grandparents were partisans and we liked the idea of honouring their memory,” says one of the activists to the Guardian.

The group repaired the fountain, built in the 1940s, of the Principe di Piemonte primary school. In January they painted a pedestrian crossing on a dangerous major road. Their latest work, the pavement fixing in Ostiense, involved filling a deep hole that regularly filled with water when it rained.

According to the data collected by Codacons (an association for the defense of the environment and the rights of users and consumers) 80 thousand scooters out of 400 thousand have reported damage due to holes in the streets, and for years the issue has been a problem of the city.

Often to complete the work it is necessary to violate the rules.

To repair the fountain they entered the school without permission, and to paint the pedestrian crossing they blocked a road without authorization.

But the alternative is no better. “We tell ourselves: let’s do it and see what happens”.

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