Granada cave-dwellers resist eviction attempt

LAST UPDATED: 16 Dec, 2013 @ 19:53
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Granada cave-dwellers resist eviction attempt

A COMMUNITY of cave-dwellers in Granada has resisted eviction, stating claims their residences are unsafe are an excuse to throw them out.

The furnished, ecletically decorated caves, located on the San Miguel hillside overlooking Granada, have panoramic views of Alhambra, a historic 14th-century palace and major tourist attraction.

San Miguel is the site of one of the four main cave neighborhoods in southern Spain. The caves carved out of the hillside have been home to Roma people and homeless settlers for hundreds of years.

Today – especially since the global recession and austerity measures in Spain – the caves have attracted dozens of young people, artists and the unemployed.

Granada’s city council, which claims the caves are unsafe, calls the residents squatters and says it has the authority to evict the residents because the caves are on municipal land.

The eviction failed after at least 200 protesters set up a human blockade.

Demonstrators, including activists from “Stop Evictions,” a housing rights organisation, chanted, “The only ruin that threatens us is to stay homeless,” and, “The caves are not bought or sold.”

It was the city’s third attempt in six years to evict residents. Authorities managed to seal several homes in 2007.

Stop Evictions spokesman Antonio Redondo rejected the eviction plans and called on the city to restore the area, which he said has an important historic heritage.

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  1. The San Miguel Caves were originally used as homes by the “New Jews” who came from nothern Spain in 1340. Then they became the place of settlement for succesive waves of newcomers. The problem is that while a very few have deeds and all the corresponding rights the majority are of very recent construction 1980-2000. Thease have no rights and have been closed off several times. The same is true of the caves on the new access to the Alhambra, which are once again being opened up by squaters. These caves have no sanitation and are often vey dangerous if there were to be an earthquake following heavy rain.

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