Barcelona: El Kubo, La Ruina and Estudi 9 social centers defend themselves against three simultaneous evictions

The courts of Santa Coloma de Gramenet and Barcelona have aligned themselves with the Catalan police to proceed today, November 30, with the construction work of three buildings belonging to Sareb and an investment company based in Luxembourg.

In a joint statement issued by El Kubo y La Ruina from Barcelona’s Bonanova and by Estudi 9 from the old town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, it is announced that this Thursday, November 30, “our houses are trenches”… They consider that the suspension of the previous eviction date of the Colomense building was an “attempt to divide our struggle”, but they advance that “it will be expensive for them, we know how to play our own strategies”.

The mobilization began in the early hours of the morning, with a march from the Uri Caballero square in Vallcarca to the Bonanova square, next to where El Kubo and La Ruina are located. In Santa Coloma de Gramenet, the rally took place on Calle Pedró, where the Estudi 9 social centre is located, the epicentre of the struggle against an urban plan promoted by Mayor Núria Parlon (PSC).

All three buildings are in the hands of large holders. In the case of the Bonanova properties, its owner is the Company for the Management of Assets Proceeding from Bank Restructuring (SAREB), a body created with the contribution of 60,000 million of public money with the aim of rescuing the banking system from the financial crisis of fifteen years ago.

The company behind the eviction of Santa Coloma de Gramenet is Hiperion Activos Inmobiliarios, a subsidiary of Saturno Holdco SA, which in turn is a front for the Luxembourg-based company Ocm ReDes Holdco Sarl. If we follow the trail through the Commercial Registry, it is associated with Coparalq Holdco and both managed by executives of the Dutch group Intertrust, which appears in the Panama Papers of companies operating in tax havens. From Santa Coloma de Gramanet to Panama, passing through Luxembourg.

“They can’t stand the fact that we organize on the margins and don’t respect their property titles. It is evident the danger that our practices pose to false peace and social uniformity and we are clear that we are not going to play their game,” say the Bonanova activists. And from the other side of the Besòs, they add: “If their strategy was to unify two relevant evictions to make their work more effective, our answer is clear: coordinate and confront repression with greater force.”

400 riot police in the eviction of Bonanova

The action of the Mobile Brigade began at half past five in the morning, when a dozen agents placed the first protection fences of the Barcelona City Council in the Plaça de la Bonanova. About forty vans from the central anti-riot unit, arriving from the Egara building in Sabadell, are participating. Then, with a loudspeaker, they warned of the beginning of the intervention to hand over the buildings to the representatives of Sareb, who are already in the area accompanied by the judicial entourage.

At six o’clock, the first firecrackers were launched by the activists who resisted from the buildings of El Kubo and La Ruina. A first attempt by the police to gain access to the courtyard of the building has been thwarted by the large amount of objects and liquids that have been thrown from the windows. More than a hundred demonstrators have moved in solidarity from the Uri Caballero square in Vallcarca. At least one person is hanging with ropes and harnesses on the façade of El Kubo and three others have sat on the roof of La Ruina.

The agents of the E-800 team of the Mobile Brigade, equipped with autonomous battery-powered radios, have accessed the courtyard of both buildings by moving inside a rudimentary barred cage to avoid the impact of objects. From within the building, they have tried to scare them away by throwing fire extinguisher powder. The public expenses of today’s police deployment exceeds 125,000 euros, including the salaries of the officers and the logistics used. Shortly before 10 a.m., members of the Fire Brigade arrived, who according to sources from the Barcelona City Council will only carry out tasks of “reviewing” the structure of the buildings.

At the same time, a hundred riot police from the ARRO Metropolitana Nord are carrying out the eviction of the Estudi 9 social center on Pedró street in Santa Coloma de Gramenet. The building is at the epicenter of a controversial urban plan battled by the neighborhood movement in the area. The property is owned by a commercial company based in Luxembourg and with ties to tax havens. Its administrators appear on the Panama Papers list of tax evaders, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. This afternoon, starting at 7 p.m., a joint demonstration of La Ruina, El Kubo and Estudi 9 is planned in the streets of Santa Coloma de Gramenet.

CSO La Ruïna
Carrer de Sant Joan de La Salle 4, Barcelona

El Kubo
Carrer de Sant Joan de La Salle 6, Barcelona

CSO La Ksa Estudi 9
Carrer Padró 14, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona

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author: Jesús Rodríguez, El Salto/La Directa