Madrid eviction ends with 11 arrests

Police said detainees doused them with gasoline, but residents claim it was water

F. Javier Barroso
Police clash with residents who climbed on to the digger that demolished the building.
Police clash with residents who climbed on to the digger that demolished the building.Jaime Villanueva

Madrid municipal police arrested 11 people on Friday morning after a group of activists attempted to halt the demolition of a residential building.

The residents of number 29 Ofelia Nieto street got help from around 100 people who rejected the city’s plans to demolish a structure that authorities describe as substandard.

Located in the city’s Moncloa district, on the border with neighboring Tetuán, the building had become a focus for anti-eviction groups since August 19, 2013. On that day, a crowd prevented an earlier attempt to evict the three families who were continuing to hold out there despite an expropriation in 2010.

More information
How the drama of Spain’s home evictions inspired a cinema musical
Home evictions averaged 184 a day in Spain in 2013
A sense of justice
PP official claims mortgage activists support pro-ETA groups

The city offered the owners compensation of nearly €400,000 in order to pull down the building and expand the sidewalk, but the owners rejected it.

The legal battle continued its course in the courts, and a new ruling on February 18 of this year ordered a new eviction process.

The nine remaining residents, some of whom have been living there for over 50 years, claimed they had not been informed that their building would be demolished on Friday. The city says the residents were served due notice of the court’s eviction order.

The police showed up at 7.30am but were unable to force the front door open, according to witness reports. A digger was finally sent in to do the job, and several people standing inside were dragged out by law enforcement officers.

According to police sources, some individuals doused officers with gasoline, but did not attempt to set them on fire. Seven people were arrested for this behavior.

Residents and activists said it was not gasoline but water.

An attempt to evict the residents in August 2013 was foiled by a crowd of supporters.
An attempt to evict the residents in August 2013 was foiled by a crowd of supporters.Cristóbal Manuel

Four more people were taken into custody after climbing the digger that finally demolished the house. A few residents said the police employed significant violence during the eviction.

The property was the last remaining building in substandard conditions in the area. The owners, who have been living there since 1956, were asking for €1.8 million, but various lawsuits fixed the compensation at €399,000.

“It’s a shame that this family has been evicted when what the city really wants to do is to speculate with the area and sell it to the private sector so it can get rich with the land. The housing conditions were perfect, and it was not necessary to take nine people out of their homes, three of them children,” said one local resident.

Socialist councilor and mayoral hopeful Antonio Miguel Carmona asked Mayor Ana Botella, of the Popular Party (PP), to explain what solutions were to be found for the three families.

“We will not allow the Botella administration to treat citizens this way,” he said. “Botella left them out on the street, Botella will have to find them new accommodation as of tonight. If this government is incapable of reaching a deal with three families, the time has come for it to make way for other leaders who put people at the top of their priorities.”

Tu suscripción se está usando en otro dispositivo

¿Quieres añadir otro usuario a tu suscripción?

Si continúas leyendo en este dispositivo, no se podrá leer en el otro.

¿Por qué estás viendo esto?


Tu suscripción se está usando en otro dispositivo y solo puedes acceder a EL PAÍS desde un dispositivo a la vez.

Si quieres compartir tu cuenta, cambia tu suscripción a la modalidad Premium, así podrás añadir otro usuario. Cada uno accederá con su propia cuenta de email, lo que os permitirá personalizar vuestra experiencia en EL PAÍS.

En el caso de no saber quién está usando tu cuenta, te recomendamos cambiar tu contraseña aquí.

Si decides continuar compartiendo tu cuenta, este mensaje se mostrará en tu dispositivo y en el de la otra persona que está usando tu cuenta de forma indefinida, afectando a tu experiencia de lectura. Puedes consultar aquí los términos y condiciones de la suscripción digital.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS