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31 March 2012


Agustin Gabarri (L) talks to his grandson Israel before they sleep at Gabarri's home for the last time before its demolition the following day at the Puerta de Hierro neighborhood outside Madrid February 14, 2012. Some Spanish gypsy families settled in the area of Puerta de Hierro, near the Palace of Moncloa, in the 1960s and have built brick houses and raised their children and grandchildren there ever since. The settlers are registered with the town hall and have access to public services, but for the past two years have been subject to several evictions under Madrid's town planning board orders, on the grounds that the dwellings are illegal. Members of some families, mostly the eldest, have been relocated to public housing flats in the city, but often their children and grandchildren have been denied the same right to relocation, resulting in many families refusing to go to the rental flats assigned to them because they do not want to leave their children and grandchildren homeless. Out of more than 50 homes that used to stand in the neighborhood, there are only six left now, as well as the debris of the ones already demolished. Leston and her husband Gabarri have been living at Puerta de Hierro for over 30 years and all their children were born in the neighbourhood. They had been assigned a public housing flat but as the order to demolish their home came before their flat was ready for their relocation, they will have to share their children's already overcrowded houses.REUTERS/Susana Vera

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