Wilson Ruilova, his partner Cecilia Paredes and their three children Andres, 16, Miguel, 7 and 6-week-old baby Dilan have been evicted from their home in Madrid.
Although anti-eviction groups PAH and Stop Desahucios led campaigns to keep the family from Ecuador from the streets, all attempts failed.
The family lived in a public-housing flat in the Villa de Vallecas district of Madrid which was sold to an investment group. While the council insisted that it had offered the family help, which it said was rejected, PAH group denied this.
Feli Velazquez and Cristina Escribano, members of the group that spent the night at the family’s home with them and a group of 30 campaigners, said that 43-year-old Wilson and 35-year-old Cecilia were given a public housing scheme rental flat three years ago, when life was different and they both had work.
“The family paid the rent faithfully until both parents lost their jobs and the flat was handed to the vulture investors,” said Velazquez, explaining that Madrid Council sold 1,869 housing scheme flats to an investment group in July 2013.
“The investors buy to speculate, the homes are no longer public housing and rent is trebled,” the campaigners declared.
The family had not refused to pay, but they had asked to pay an amount they could afford bearing in mind their income was just €341 per month, Velazquez added.
Anti-eviction groups managed to have the eviction halted twice, but the third attempt failed. Negotiations with the council for an emergency public housing solution fell through, the campaigners complained and said that the investors said they were not a charity and had bought the flats to earn money.
Seven police vans and around 50 policemen arrived at the property at 6am, while about 100 people gathered at the front door of the building to try to stop the eviction.
While campaigners complained of violent officers and said that one woman’s wrist was injured when the flat door was broken down, the police force declared that the eviction was carried out as normal with no incidents, injuries or arrests.
Social services has taken charge of the family for the time being, although what will eventually happen to them is not clear.
Meanwhile a council spokeswoman denied that the family had been left hanging and insisted that they had been offered help which they refused to accept.