An eviction like this can't happen again

The police's actions in Ciutat Meridiana were an absurdity

Can a family with children be evicted in the middle of a pandemic and shortly before curfew? Well, it is clear that, despite all the proclamations of the various administrations, yes. The image on Thursday night in Ciutat Meridiana of a mother with three minor children, some of them with their school bags on their backs, evicted by the Mossos d'Esquadra without a court order has provoked a perfectly justified wave of outrage.

Luckily, the owner of the flat, the bank BBVA, has rectified this and let the family return to where they have lived for the last two years. The fact is that, as this is a vulnerable family, the bank had to comply with decree law 17/2019 and offer a social rent that the family can afford. They will sign on Monday. The entity has defended itself with the argument that nobody informed them that it was a vulnerable family and that is why they activated the express eviction. The lack of a court order responds to the fact that the judicial committee had changed the lock of the house in the morning and, when Ruth returned in the evening, she found it locked. Then, advised by her neighbours, she forced the door and the alarm was triggered, which triggered the action of the Mossos. On Thursday night the family was attended to by social services.

The episode places us in a very uncomfortable situation that legislation and administrations are yet to solve. Despite politicians' promises, every week vulnerable families are evicted, and only in some cases does the mobilization of neighbours and activists manage to stop them. Not even the arrival of Ada Colau to the Barcelona City Hall, after having been the leader of the anti-evictions movement, has managed to stop the most delicate evictions.

At the same time, more and more property owners are complaining about mafias that squat flats to make a profit, using, in some cases, families with children. These two realities coexist and it is often difficult to discern each case. But, in any case, the eviction in Ciutat Meridiana should never have taken place. Something is wrong in the information circuit when neither courts nor the police realise that they are violating the law that protects vulnerable families in these cases.

This example should help the administrations to really get their act together and avoid these social dramas, especially if there are minors involved, because it is difficult to picture the experience of being thrown out of your house when it is already night and the next day you have to go to school. In the midst of the pandemic, and with the work they have to enforce mobility restrictions, it is incomprehensible that the Mossos are doing this, with the loss of credit they entail.

The Government of the Generalitat and the City Council should get to work to ensure that such a case does not happen again. And as a society we should all be aware that child poverty is a very real phenomenon that we often have at home.

EDICIÓ PAPER 28/11/2020

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