Early in the morning on December 14, 2020, the National Police changed the locks and installed anti-occupation doors in the CSOA l’Horta in Benimaclet (Valencia), a fact to which the neighborhood has responded by gathering against the action dictated by the Sareb, according to the collective in defense of the CSOA, which has managed to expel the police operation and reoccupy the center.
Originally published by Squat Net.
The mobile phones of several people woke up this morning with an important message: “Illegal eviction in the CSOA l’Horta. There are police surrounding the space inside and outside. They’ve put up three anti-occupation gates, and they’re using grinders”. The police operation, witnesses say, consisted of about 8 police vans. Through the same media channels, the activist collective called on the neighbourhood to go immediately to the surroundings of the centre. In barely an hour, dozens of people from Benimaclet and other neighbourhoods gathered to oppose the police action that the collective claims is illegal.
According to the collective, the police had acted in the whole plot with an order that only affected a part of it, owned by the Sareb. “They have proceeded to evict the CSOA L’Horta, covering the entrances with anti-occupation doors and installing alarms and a new padlock on the agricultural plots,” says the lawyer for the CSOA L’Horta collective. “The court order [to which El Salto has had access] was true and existed, but it corresponded to a part of the 10,000 square meters that l’Horta has, so we are proceeding to the recovery of the property usurpers and the challenge in court of the mandate”. According to the same lawyer, the group will request compensation for damages.
In the same sense, Paula, member of the CSOA l’Horta, adds that “it was an eviction without prior notice, so there is a violation of the right to defense. Our legal team has been set up and is proceeding to challenge the eviction on the grounds of malpractice or because we are dealing with an illegal eviction case”. It is at this point, says Paula, that they have decided to re-enter the space after the police have closed the perimeter of the space.
The first hours were very tense due to the police charges against the group that the CSOA L’Horta was trying to defend. Shortly before 11am and after the conversations with the lawyer, the police left the building and the collective reoccupied the plot. According to reports from people on the scene, alarms have been installed at all the doors and have sounded with the reoccupation of the centre, as well as some of the young people who have defended the plot have been beaten up as a result of police charges.
There are currently several active complaints from the Sareb against the centre. During these years, explains the lawyer of the centre, “degraded land has been recovered, despised and destroyed by former developers of the PAI of Benimaclet”. The CSOA, which has hosted a multitude of cultural and social events and activities, has been in existence for eight years, of which “since the last two or three years the Sareb has been filing civil lawsuits, which have been won by the people’s power”. These demands, the lawyer specifies, amount to four: two estimated in favour of the centre and two waiting. However, the new order was issued by criminal law but corresponded to 100 square meters, “100 versus the 10,000 of all the space, which has been recovering land from the old PAI Benimaclet,” the lawyer said.
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