One of the objectives of Mayor Jaume Collboni’s government for this mandate is to revitalize the Plaza de la Gardunya, the Rubió and Lluch gardens and the entire back part of the Boqueria municipal market. The executive does not intend to undertake large-scale works, but to opt for urban surgery, perhaps to tear down some wall to communicate these spaces and above all to transform the human ecosystem of the area.

And the government of Mayor Collboni took the first step this Thursday with the closure of La Tancada dels Immigrants, with the recovery of some of the premises of the old Massana school, with the eviction of around thirty immigrants, many of whom are in an irregular situation. That squatter-friendly municipal spirit of previous mandates is now behind us.

This City Hall property was taken over in 2018 in a protest against the Immigration Law. It soon became a shelter for simpapeles, a symbol of the fight for the rights of these people. The mayor Ada Colau and the president Quim Torra visited her. And then the commons agreed to cede the adjacent property to the alternative associations that took it over in 2020 and turned it into a nerve center for their activities. Here they meet, distribute food, plan to stop evictions…

But the negotiations between the Colau government and the alternatives went awry, and in the meantime the atmosphere in La Tancada became strained. Until yesterday, a lot of bike delivery drivers lived here, and the place also became a refuge for thieves. Clashes between one another became common. Health conditions also worsened. Furthermore, faced with the bustle of drug addicts, drunken globetrotters and tourists eating pre-cooked paella, for some time now many residents prefer to speed up their pace and leave the area behind as soon as possible.

Some understand that the City Council should recover all its properties and dedicate them, for example, to a center dedicated to social, cultural and gastronomic innovation where exhibitions, conferences, debates are held… And they also understand that the City Council should also demolish the wall that separates the square and the gardens to open a new centrality of the Raval, Ciutat Vella and Barcelona.

Because Collboni’s plan also involves revitalizing the equipment of these gardens and incorporating others. In the courtyard of the old hospital of the Santa Creu there are also the libraries of Catalonia and the neighborhood, the Royal Academy of Medicine, the Institute of Catalan Studies, the Royal Academy of Pharmacy of Catalonia… And the executive wants that too the new district library and the Ciutat Vella municipal office for citizen services are installed here.

In addition, teachers from the Massana school of art and design want the City Council to recover its premises and thus expand its facilities. They say that the ones in the new school located opposite have already outgrown them and that it makes no sense to continue renting other classrooms. And merchants from La Boqueria believe that if the plaza and gardens changed their dynamics, the stops at the back could be reopened and even a terrace could be set up. That in this way the people of Barcelona could reconcile themselves with the market.

And the Deputy Mayor for Security, Albert Batlle, took over the management of the Ciutat Vella district, willing to respond to these voices. Furthermore, his willingness to recover the usurped municipal offices to dedicate them to other uses unleashes a conflict with the alternatives that is evident in all the district hearings. Because everyone knows that the next municipal step will be to recover the rest of the occupied offices, and everything indicates that then the resistance will be greater.

Dozens of people demonstrated in the streets of Raval after the police operation as a sign of rejection. The members asked Batlle what attention he plans to pay to the evicted immigrants. Shortly after the police left the square, while the workers walled up La Tancada, some of its last residents, hanging their yellow delivery backpacks on their backs again, said that they would look for a life.