Anti eviction blockade in Spain - 'They aren’t suicides, they’re murders'


Following on from a very large anti-eviction march of 10's of thousands  in Madrid on Saturday today, 22 February, 2013, over 100 neighbors, anti-foreclosure activists, and 15M organizers stood together to prevent Nieves and her children (ages 6 and 9) from being evicted from their apartment. Although they have lived in their apartment for years, Nieves’ ex-husband’s parents are trying to force out their grandchildren so that their son (Nieves’ ex-husband) and his new family can live there. Her ex-husband has faced charges of domestic abuse and there is currently a restraining order against him legally preventing him from having anything to do with his children. He has also failed to pay child support on numerous occasions.

Organizers and neighbors started to congregate at 11AM to form a strong presence in anticipation of the eviction scheduled for 1PM. Camera crews from many of the major Spanish stations arrived early to capture an increasingly common scene. Over the past months the numbers of suicides prompted by foreclosures has risen dramatically. At least 4 foreclosure-related suicides have occurred in Spain this month alone prompting a massive anti-foreclosure march of tens of thousands on Feb. 16. Anti-foreclosure activists have spread the chants: “They aren’t suicides, they’re murders” and “How many more people are you going to kill?”

Tensions mounted as the police arrived at 1PM but they didn’t enter the building to confront the solid contingent of people defending Nieves’ apartment surrounded by camera crews. About a half an hour later, the lawyer for Nieves’ ex-husband’s parents appeared to announce that they had suggested to the police that the family not be evicted (given the strong turnout). Shortly thereafter it was officially announced that the police wouldn’t evict them…for now. However, vigilant organizers have vowed to maintain a 24-hour presence and anti-foreclosure networks are at the ready to call for backup should the police return. Recently, fire departments in Barcelona and Madrid have followed their counterparts in A Coruña in declaring their refusal to carry out orders of eviction. Today’s action is another small step toward a larger societal movement of noncompliance with the regime of capital.

WORDS & PHOTO: Mark Bray