|Sevilla (Spain): Police Winkle Out Stubborn Squatters|
It took teams of policemen and fire-fighters nearly 38 hours to remove two squatters from an underground refuge at the end of a tunnel underneath the Casas Viejas building in the Macarena district close to Sevilla city centre that has been earmarked for conversion into residential properties and a community centre.
Iván Díaz, a 28 year old geography lecturer at Sevilla university, lasted 36 hours, but was finally removed at 7.30pm yesterday evening. His fellow protester, Agustín, who is a builder and carpenter, held out for an an extra hour and a half.
The two men had taken refuge in a small cave at the end of a tunnel built over the last twelve months to resist eviction, and had padlocked themselves to concrete blocks in the wall behind an armour-plated door.
A similar siege in London a few years ago was brought to an end after police decided to dig an alternative tunnel, which took several days.
Beatriz, a spokeswoman for the various anti-establishment groups that first occupied the building five years ago, said: "However exagerated the tunnel protest may seem, it is proportional to the amount of work, love, hope and enthusiasm that we've invested in Casas Viejas."
The siege started on Thursday, when police surrounded the building and evicted four squatters from inside the building amid clashes outside with squatter sympathisers on the street outside, leaving Iván and Agustín shut away in their tiny sanctum four metres below ground.
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