At least 16 people, including four officers, have been injured and eight protesters were arrested, as anti-austerity protesters clashed with police on Thursday in the centre of Rome.

A police helicopter swooped over central Rome as demonstrators pelted lines of police with eggs and fruit, threw “thunder flash” pyrotechnics and climbed on top of police vehicles.

The protesters were calling for more affordable housing, better wages and improved conditions for immigrants and refugees, tens of thousands of whom live in a twilight zone of semi-legality in Italy, with many forced to squat in disused buildings or sleep rough.

Organisers said Thursday’s protest was a continuation of an anti-austerity march through Rome on Oct 19.