Pola de Lena (Asturias): The Civil Guard violently evicts the Palaciu de Ronzón

We spoke with a member of the El Palaciu Collective, which has been occupying the Palaciu de Ronzón for nine months, violently evicted this morning by the Guardia Civil.

This morning agents of the Guardia Civil have violently proceeded to evict the Palaciu de Ronzón, an old squatted manor house in Lena (Asturias) that belonged to the powerful family of the nobility Bernaldo de Quirós. During the eviction, two activists have been arrested and are still in the premises of the Civil Guard. At least one of the people arrested has broken his ankle and has had to be transferred to receive medical attention. In addition, numerous identifications have been made and another person has been detained, although she has not been arrested.

From La Haine we have been able to speak with Juan, one of the members of the Colectivo El Palaciu who had been occupying the building for 9 months, while they were gathered in front of the barracks in Pola de Lena demanding the freedom of the detained people.

Hi Juan, can you give us some background on what the Palace of Ronzon is, its history, when it’s squatted, etc…

The Palaciu de Ronzón was a palace of a very rich and powerful family in Pola de Lena, the Bernaldo de Quirós family, who lived practically in a feudal system, the inhabitants of the houses that were around the palace worked for this family. In 1964 the two heiresses the “ladies”, who are very well known in the area, die without their descendants and donate the palace to the town council of Pola de Lena, with the intention, theoretically, that “a series of educational and environmental activities be carried out that will benefit the countryside, agriculture and livestock in the area”. However, from 1964 to 2003 this palace was empty, full of rats and abandoned.

As a result of a renewable energy project, a collective, Escanda, managed to get the space transferred for 10 years, but after six years the palace practically fell down due to the AVE works. There is an effort to take the AVE to Uvieu and in this area they were stuck, because it is an area with a problematic terrain for the works, with very watery soil, which finally causes almost all the surrounding houses to fall down and also the palace. So the palace is evacuated, not because of an issue of occupation, but for safety. After a long legal process, ADIF is sentenced to fix the palace, at a cost of 600,000 euros.

In principle, once the palace was fixed it should have reopened, but this was 10 years ago and it has never reopened. After the Escanda collective and other collectives asked for it in many ways, formally and officially and only got silence in response, in April last year the palace is squatted.

How has the process been these 9 months until the eviction? Has there been any contact with the Town Hall?

There were contacts with the city council before the occupation, there were also several attempts of contact once it was occupied, but again they only obtained silence by response. In the last few days, the Town Hall did try to contact the people of the Palaciu Collective, but in the end there was no negotiation.

What happened today?

It was a totally disproportionate eviction. On the one hand, there were about twenty people, mostly young people, holding on and forming a human chain. On the other hand, only in GRS of the Guardia Civil there were about 30 agents, in addition to the Guardia Civil of Pola Lena and Mieres. I suppose they will say that they used “the minimum necessary force”, I don’t know if what I saw today is the “minimum necessary violence”, but I had never seen so much violence. I was working as a mediator with the lawyer and they practically hit us and everyone else who was there, and in a very short time they have managed to evict the palace, arresting two people.

The Ronzon Foundation, which owns the building, has never taken the El Palaciu Collective seriously, and the proof of this is that they must have thought that the only thing we wanted with the eviction was a photo, and they offered us that photo. They offered us to take a photo in front of the cameras staging the resistance, and they told us that if we agreed to it then there would be no violence from the Guardia Civil. Obviously, we refused and so there was no parade, what there was was real violence. Immediately the GRS appeared and with a disproportionate violence in a very short time they cleared the palace.

Have you already scheduled mobilizations to denounce the eviction?

We still have two comrades in detention (in principle another person was detained because he had not identified himself, but he has already identified himself and is free) and we foresee that they are not going to be released soon, so we have called for a concentration today at 6pm in front of the Civil Guard barracks in Pola de Lena.

They have finished with the palace, but have they finished with your desire to give life to a self-managed space?

Life goes on and the palace was only a part of our whole project. I don’t know what will happen to our orchards or to the ointment or to some other constructions we have made, but even if the palace disappears our project is still alive. And if something good has a sad fact like this eviction is that it has given us a lot of life because it has united the group a lot, so we will go on, even if it is without a palace.

Thank you very much, a lot of encouragement and we hope that soon your comrades will be free.

Thank you very much to you!

[Update] Afternoon rally to denounce the eviction and to demand the release of the detainees.

Colectivo El Palaciu https://squ.at/r/7qei

Directory of squats in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES/squated/squat
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC/squated/squat
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE/squated/squat

Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE

Events in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: : https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XE

Source: La Haine https://www.lahaine.org/est_espanol.php/la-guardia-civil-desaloja-violentamente