Roma evictions right in the heart of the European capital
More than 220 people, including 90 children, will be doomed to live in the street after they were ordered on Thursday, 31 October to leave the building where they used to reside for more than four years. After many days of pressure and not knowing, the house is (on Monday 4, November) full of the police ready for the eviction. The police turn up 5:45 this morning!
The occupants of the Gesu building were informed Thursday evening through an eviction notice displayed on the door of the building that they have 24 hours at their disposal to gather their belongings and evacuate the building. The people living in this crumbling building are mostly asylum seekers and immigrant with no financial means of whatsoever therefore a public defender has been appointed to guide and represent them through the whole process.
The lawyer of the people living in the convent, states that the evictions are unavoidable, and that the only weapon which can be used at this moment is peaceful resistance: “We will try to avoid it as long as possible. Without violence and as peacefully as possible, with a sit-in, for example," says the lawyer. The lawyer tried to contact authorities and discuss possible alternative solutions in terms of temporary accommodation for the families and their children; however the authorities have shown no sense of cooperation and decided to face the whole situation with an outrageous non responsive treatment.
The occupants are installed at the Gesù building since late January 2010, however now the property is envisaged to become a five star project called "Royal Botanic", a project which provides an exceptional 75-room hotel, 77 apartments, 179 parking spaces, restaurants and bars, gardens, a spa, a cinema or a theater of about 150 seats on a built area of 32,800 m2. Needles to mention, that the 220 people and 90 children have not been included in the luxurious landscape to be.
The owner of the former Gesu Church in Saint-Josse-ten-Node, Pierre Buyssens, said that he did not agree with the eviction of the people currently living in his property; however it is evident that for the authorities the prospect of a luxurious residence matches far better their own interests than dealing with a bunch of poor people and their children.
By going there with many other Roma activists, we have undoubtedly notice how skilled people are in quoting the law, a law which has no regards for vulnerable human beings living at the edge of poverty. Few outsiders have taken the time to look around them, as we were all surrounded by people with faces ravaged by despair and by starving children waiting for their final verdict. Yet once you go outside the crumbling building with no electricity, water or hitting, you can easily notice on one of the walls of the building a glorious poster with the municipal councilor “watching carefully for the law to be used in the interests of citizens”.
Day by day, these people are waiting with their few belongings packed, for the unavoidable to happen. They were warned that an impressive number of guards will dash upon them, and they know it as well it will happen, as the evictions have become a characteristic feature in the lives of the Roma people. Now after the police arrived, they are waiting what will happen to them, most afraid that children will be taken out or that they will have to go back to the country of origin where there is nothing good, just the daily anti-gypsyism.
Nevertheless, nowadays, when you put together evictions, expulsions, deportations, extreme poverty and nonetheless issues, you must definitely add Roma, as like this, you will get the perfect “European equation”, an equation with no solutions favorable for Roma though…but just perfect for the main society to go ahead with their “Royal projects”.