El Ejido flattens shanty town in controversial operation

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flickr by Daniel J. Escalera


EL EJIDO town hall evacuated and demolished 30 shacks in the Tierras de Almeria district.
The demolition was ordered at the end of April but halted after the mediation of charities and the SAT trade union.
SAT unsuccessfully attempted to halt the operation once again, explained the union spokesman Spitou Mendy. The bulldozers and the police arrived very early at the site without any previous warning to the people living there, Mendy said.
“These are people who work and sweat in the greenhouses but they have nowhere to go because no-one provides the wherewithal and they can’t pay rent,” the spokesman claimed. “When they saw this empty plot eight years ago they put up shacks there.”
Mendy maintained that the Local Police had intimidated these residents on several occasions “but they stood their ground.”
Municipal sources rejected Mendy’s claims. The town hall had a court order permitting the demolition and the inhabitants of the settlement knew that they were due to be pulled down on health and hygiene grounds.
Social workers were on hand to help when the demolitions were carried but this turned out not to be necessary. “The occupants who were there knew what was happening and went of their own accord. The entire operation occurred without incident,” the police stressed.
SAT queried this version next day. At least 30 people with nowhere to go and who had lost many of their belongings had spent the night at the union’s local office. It was now social services’ responsibility to remedy this situation, a spokesman said.

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