On April 5, 2013 Mónica, a 70 year old woman with Alzheimer’s, was scheduled to be evicted from the apartment she has lived in since 1974. In the shadows of Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium located right around the corner from her apartment building, community members and organizers from the Popular Assembly of Tetuan of the 15M movement (indignados) and the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) gathered outside her building at 10AM chanting “This eviction! We’re going to stop it!”
Anti-eviction demonstrators blocked the building’s entrances causing the police to resort to brutal arrests and assaults to enter. Their presence made it nearly impossible for the authorities to remove Mónica and her possessions from the building. In an attempt to intimidate the movement, the police accosted journalists, smashed the cameras of photographers, and knocked several elderly demonstrators to the ground.
Undaunted, the crowd held strong until the announcement came a few hours later that an agreement had been struck to postpone Mónica’s eviction. Although the authorities could return at any time, the community’s collective power of refusal in the face of foreclosure won Mónica at least another night in her home. As the strength of the Madrid anti-foreclosure movement grows, authorities are increasingly likely to back down in the face of popular direct action. This spring the PAH is launching their Primavera Verde campaign to bolster an already vibrant movement for social justice.
Video made about the action by Mark Bray: http://youtu.be/SPmBHZzpp70
Words & Image: @Mark__Bray