Macro eviction threat at Casa Africa, a stone’s throw from Barcelona’s Rambla

  • After being evicted from a farm on Calle de Marià Aguilà (Poblenou) in July 2019 and burning the warehouse in which they entered as the only alternative in the same neighborhood two weeks later, the twenty undocumented migrants that make up Africa House, now on the street of Canuda, they have an eviction order for November 4

On the floor of the second-floor living room, several bike batteries charging along with Glovo and Deliveroo backpacks. Working as ‘riders’ renting an account from one of the delivery companies -they cannot open their own account as they do not have papers- is the option that, today, the city offers them to obtain a minimum income. “The blanket was heavily hunted and we don’t want problems with the police. We earn very little because we have to pay a percentage to the owner of the account, but it is the only way to earn some money, “he says. Adam, 25-year-old Senegalese in one of the community spaces of Africa House, place where they live and, above all, take care of themselves more than 20 young men originally Senegalese, Algerian and Moroccan, weaving community in a city that received them with almost all doors closed.

They occupy the old offices of the CETT Foundation, in the Canuda Street, a two steps from the Rambla, from November 2019, after living two evictions. First, executed by the Mossos on July 2 of that year in a building of Marià Aguiló street, in Poblenou, where the project was born and, just two weeks later, they had to leave the building in which they had relocated, on the street of City of Granada, in the same neighborhood, after a fire. On the third building in which they have established and where they have already created a network, next to the Vila de Madrid square, there is a eviction order for next November 4.

Next to Adam, Your partner Yogurt, Algerian from 32 years, adds what might be obvious but sometimes is not so obvious: that the origin of all their ills is the immigration law. In addition to a roof, in Africa House newcomers find a place to feel understood in the broadest sense of the term. “We help each other. We guide each other on the difficulties that the city offers. Our role is to tell newcomers the truth, that things will not be how they imagined when they left Africa, but we give them confidence and we offer security“, they point out, questioning all administrations -from the State, responsible for said law, to the city council- that stop the eviction scheduled for next week. “An eviction with no alternative to the gates of winter “, men emphasize.

Municipal slowness

From We resist the Gothic, neighborhood platform of the neighborhood that supports them, they are very critical of the city council. “They have known about the situation for a year and have not made a move,” they point out. angry. “Last week they still had not agreed on which department should take charge of the issue, since as the building is classified as offices, not as housing, they said that the matter did not belong to the housing council but to the citizenship rights department, “they also continue to question the property,” a reference center in the field of tourism, hospitality and gastronomy, “as presented on its page Web.

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The property has declined to make any statement to this newspaper on the subject, while the Barcelona’s town hall ensures that “you are trying without success open a dialog with the property“so that I leave you some time to study on a case-by-case basis who are the people who live in the building and find a solution for them“.” If, as it seems, the property does not sit down to negotiate, the city council will be there to avoid that nobody stays a single night in the street “, concludes the municipal spokeswoman.

In the eyes of Adam, spokesperson for Africa House, “they are useless anti-racist speeches and in favor of human rights on TV and on social networks, if these things happen before their eyes and they are not necessary. What we need are facts & rdquor ;, ugly the young man, who participates in the forum Youth act!, organized by the Barcelona Youth Council and UPF. It is not the only activity in which they participate. They also organize anti-racist workshops for schools, “to deconstruct the racist learning that we have so internalized” and participate in the cooperative Aula d’Idiomes de Sants, a neighborhood in which they spent time sheltered in Can Batlló, from the fire of their last house until they found their current headquarters. They also have the project of setting up their own language classroom on the top floor, to teach Catalan and Spanish to newcomers.

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