San Juan City (Philippines): Squatters’ resistance against a police demolition attack

Patay kung patay. Hindi kami aalis dito.
[We’ll die if we have to. We’re not going anywhere.]
A man who lives in Corazon de Jesus, January 11th, 2012

A lot of mainstream media [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], #sanjuandemolition on Twitter and some local alternative media talked about the events of January 11th 2012, when more than 400 policemen (including at least 100 riot-police) tried to impose a massive demolition operation on Corazon de Jesus, a poor area of San Juan City.

On December 6th, 2011, a demolition warning was given by the City to the Corazon de Jesus’ inhabitants. They had until January 11th to move out. Almost none of them moved.
In this area of San Juan City, about 2 000 homes are concerned by the demolition operations, resistance is going on since June 2010. In one year and a half, 400 homes have been demolished by the State forces.

The government plans to build a new city hall and one-stop-shop government center on the disputed lot.

The government knew that these demolition operations couldn’t happen without resistance. Around Manila, in Quezon City [1 | 2] or in San Juan City, it’s not the first time that police have been met with many difficulties when evicting people who want to stay in their homes.
Classes at the San Juan National High School were suspended in time for the scheduled demolition…

When police came to attack the area, the inhabitants had already built up barricades, and then defended them, throwing stones, Molotovs and other objects at the cops and their allied employees for demolition. The police responded with truncheons, tear gas canisters and water canons.

There would be more than 30 injured people. According to Inquirer journalists, only seven of them are on the inhabitants side, all the other ones are supposed to be policemen, demolition employees and two firefighters. One cop has been burnt on his arm by a Molotov cocktail.

The police says that the inhabitants were actively supported by students and “professional” activists, more particularly during the riots. On the other side, police were actively supported by the demolition employees during the riots…

Under police protection, with the help of water cannons, the bulldozers have demolished one part of the homes targeted by the demolition operation.

During the fights, at least 18 persons have been arrested by the police.

When this “working day” of demolition was over, a demonstration went in front of the police station to call for the liberation of the arrested people. There, 6 other persons have been arrested…
Eventually, some of the arrested people have been released, but we don’t know a lot more about that…

On this January 11th, the majority of the evicted people have no other home solution, or only very shitty ones. Almost all of them stayed in the same area, built up some emergency shelter for the next nights, and are keen to continue the struggle anyways.

Here is a video from the Tudla collective, about the resistance against the demolition operations this January 11th:

Slide show about the same day: