Police Winkle Out Stubborn Squatters – Sevilla

 from thinkSPAIN Dec 1 2007

It
took teams of policemen and fire-fighters nearly 38 hours to remove two
squatters from an underground refuge at the end of a tunnel underneath
the Casas Viejas building in the La Macarena district close to Sevilla
city centre that has been earmarked for conversion into residential
properties and a community centre.

Iván Díaz, a 28 year old geography lecturer at Sevilla university,
lasted 36 hours, but was finally removed at 7.30pm yesterday evening.
His fellow protester, Agustín, who is a builder and carpenter, held out
for an an extra hour and a half.

The two men had taken refuge in a small cave at the end of a tunnel
built over the last twelve months to resist eviction, and had padlocked
themselves to concrete blocks in the wall behind an armour-plated door.

A similar siege in London a few years ago was brought to an end
after police decided to dig an alternative tunnel, which took several
days.

Beatriz, a spokeswoman for the various anti-establishment groups
that first occupied the building five years ago, said: “However
exagerated the tunnel protest may seem, it is proportional to the
amount of work, love, hope and enthusiasm that we’ve invested in Casas
Viejas.”

The siege started on Thursday, when police surrounded the building
and evicted four squatters from inside the building amid clashes
outside with squatter sympathisers on the street outside, leaving Iván
and Agustín shut away in their tiny sanctum four metres below ground.