Evictions from flats occupied by social collectives in Barcelona's Raval halted
City council and owners given 45 days to relocate people living in three premises
Evictions from three premises in the Raval area of Barcelona's old town occupied by social collectives have been halted, following a last-minute agreement with the property owners, Criteria.
The flats, occupied by La Caracola, the Manters (street venders) Union and Immigrant's Space, were to be vacated by October 15.
Barcelona councilor for citizens' rights, Marc Serra, explained that the council has agreed with Criteria (which is owned by La Caixa Foundation) that the evictions would no longer go ahead.
Instead, they'll begin a mediation process of a maximum of 45 days to find a joint alternative to relocate vulnerable people living in the premises and provide alternative space for the groups doing social work there.
"What we did not accept was an agreement in which the City Council was the only one to assume its responsibility," Serra aid, emphasizing that the agreement outlines the "co-responsibility" of both the council and the financial institution.
"We want La Caixa to put forward alternatives," he said, adding that, under no circumstances were the premises to be left empty for takeover by criminal activities, as had happened in the past.
Lamine Sarr, a member of the Manters Union, told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that the occupation was a response to the "insecurity" of residents and their complaints about so-called 'narcoflats'.
"We have organized many projects, workshops, such as sewing protective gowns and face masks during the pandemic," said Sarr, without receiving "anything" from the administrations.
Adrián, from Immigrant's Space, pointed out that during the crisis groups like his kept working to offer food and advice to migrants.
"Today we see that all this work is recognized by the Raval district, which has mobilized, but not by the institutions, which have been absent until the end," he lamented.
Earlier this month an agreement between the city council and a private landlord allowed one of the last residents living on Barcelona's famous La Rambla boulevard to avoid eviction and stay in her home, for now at least.