THE ALTERNATIVE FORUM BARCELONA 2004
The military barracks of Torras i Bages avenue in Sant Andreu (Barcelona) were abandoned by the Ministry of Defense in 1996. Shortly after, a few immigrants and homeless people began living in this area of 106.000 m2 without running water or electricity. In the beginning of 2003, it was considered to be Spain’s largest squat and, possibly, the largest in Europe consisting of more than 1.000 people of 33 different nationalities.
Although the trial’s verdict for the eviction of the barracks did not take place until November 2003, months before, the first demolitions of buildings started and the inhabitants began to suffer unbearable police harassments that led to more than 400 arrests and 270 deportations. The City Council and the Red Cross aid was only meant to show a good face and did not last for more than three months. After that period, the immigrants returned to the streets or the barracks.
On February 9th 2004, when only about 100 people were left and a few buildings remained standing, a peaceful eviction took place. Now, regardless of the social and sanitary equipment promised to the neighborhood, it is planned to build about 1.000 flats of free sale and very few of the necessary equipments. Moreover, and paradoxically very close to this place, will begin the fabulous FORUM BARCELONA 2004 that, as they say, will lay bridges of dialog and understanding among different races and cultures.