12 May, 2023 @ 15:00
1 min read

IN PICTURES: Tensions reach boiling point in Barcelona as pro and anti-squatting groups clash

Manifestaciones En Barcelona Por Los Dos Edificios Ocupados En El Barrio De La Bonanova
Demonstrations in Barcelona for the two occupied buildings in the Bonanova neighborhood, Thursday, May 12, 2023 Manifestaciones en Barcelona por los dos edificios ocupados en el barrio de la bonanova, jueves 12 de Mayo de 2023

RIVAL pro and anti-squatting groups clashed in Barcelona after a judge denied a petition to have a group of squatters evicted.

Riot police from the Mossos d’Esquadra were present in the Placa de la Bonanova from Thursday afternoon to overnight after threats from the eviction company Desokupa to forcibly remove the squatters.

Manifestaciones En Barcelona Por Los Dos Edificios Ocupados En El Barrio De La Bonanova
Demonstrations in Barcelona in support of the two occupied buildings in the Bonanova neighborhood, Thursday, May 12, 2023

Tension had been building in the usually placid and upmarket neighbourhood for days as anti-squatter groups threatened to take action and pro-squatting groups mobilised in response.

The denial of building owner Sareb to legally remove the squatters had triggered rival groups to gather in the square, prompting fears of ‘pitched battles’ from concerned residents.

Manifestaciones En Barcelona Por Los Dos Edificios Ocupados En El Barrio De La Bonanova
Large crowds marched through the streets, some reportedly throwing rocks at businesses. Thursday, May 12, 2023

Competing groups of protestors demonstrated but they were kept apart by specialist teams of riot police until around 5am on Friday morning.

At this time, a dozen right-wing anti-squatters tried to approach their left-wing counterparts and repeatedly ignored police warnings to back off.

Tension In Bonanova Neighborhood,barcelona
May 11, 2023, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain: High tension in the wealthy neighborhood of Bonanova in Barcelona, where some citizens, right-wing parties, and far-right organizations are protesting in an attempt to evict squatters from occupied houses in the area. The squatters are defending their right to continue living in the occupied houses, which are owned by the Spanish government. (Credit Image: © Eric Renom/ZUMA Press Wire)

According to Mossos d’Esquadra sources, the 12 individuals were arrested for disobeying a police order.

For their part, during marches through the neighbourhood, a number of pro-squatting protestors threw stones at shops and businesses as they passed.

The dispute revolves around the buildings El Kubo and La Ruïna, which have long been illegally occupied in the upmarket neighbourhood.

Manifestaciones En Barcelona Por Los Dos Edificios Ocupados En El Barrio De La Bonanova
Hundreds demonstrated through La Bonanova, landing in the main square. Thursday, May 12, 2023

One attempt to evict occupiers of El Kubo on March 23 was a failure after authorities deemed it could not be done safely.

Minister of the Interior Joan Ignasi Elena came down against the Desokupa demonstrators, labelling them ‘extremists’.

“A group of the extreme right will not decide or set the pace of when to do or stop doing something,” he said. 

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Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]
@waltfinc

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