BULLDOZERS have knocked down a gypsy shantytown in southern Spain and given its residents one way tickets back to Romania.
A total of 15 people were given bus tickets back to Romania by Motril town hall on the Costa Del Sol.
The tickets cost a total of 1,200 euros.
Authorities allegedly threatened to put children into care if the shantytown occupants refused to go.
“Cars with loudspeakers were cruising the streets, demanding that they go and threatening to take away the children of those who didn’t,” said Natalia Garcia of the Human Rights Association of Andalucia (APHD).
A family of three, however, is refusing to leave their shacks in the Los Amaras area of the town as they all have jobs in the area.
The town hall, which is controlled by the conservative PP party, maintains the entire demolition process was strictly legal.
“The shacks were on the municipal land and were in lamentable condition,” said the council’s spokesperson.
“The residents told us they didn’t have the means to go leave,” he added. “We reached an agreement and bought tickets for them to help them go to their country of origin.”
The authorities brought in the bulldozers on Wednesday after deciding to take action against the shantytown in late October.
Local residents have been complaining for months about the noise and violent attitude of the squatters, who also included Spanish and Morrocan nationals.
The Romanian consulate in Seville played down the demolition, referring to it as an ‘exceptional case’.
Spanish NGOs said in a joint statement: “the demolition violated human rights and continued the unacceptable expulsion of Roma gypsies began by France, Great Britain and Germany.”
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