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← Es.Col.A da Fontinha - Mini Documentário

A história do Espaço Colectivo Autogestionado do Alto da Fontinha, pelos próprios intervenientes.
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Subtitles translated from Portuguese Showing Revision 3 created 04/09/2012 by saritamoreira.

  1. It's not that occupying was a new idea to pop into the head of the group
  2. it was already one of our objectives and part of our principles
  3. We started to realise that it was an abandoned space
  4. that was already a space where kids hopped the fence to go play football
  5. Because it was a school, a public building...
  6. The school is cool, a calm place where everybody can hang out
  7. And it is beautiful because it is for the community,
  8. everyone can be here, no matter who they are.
  9. We occupied the school on April 10, 2011 and that is it,
  10. then a group of about 7-8 people stayed
  11. they stayed, always living here inside the building.
  12. for a month, we didn't have any sort of problem,
  13. no one ever came here to ask anything.
  14. First they came to occupy this space, then the police came...
  15. because one day I passed by here, in the morning at 7am
  16. and I saw lots of police, armed and...
  17. And there you go, they threw everybody out of here.
  18. They covered over the door...
  19. The process lasted more or less an hour before they entered the building.
  20. There were 3 people who had tried to climb up on the roof to slow things down.
  21. After this was cleaned up, they took out all of the trash, painted, and put here...
  22. They did stuff to bring people together, kids and everything
  23. and then they come and expel people from here?
  24. Handcuffed? Seriously...
  25. If it was to deal with a robbery, they would have run away...
  26. But this was like a country Western film at 8am in the morning here
  27. There below there were about 8 police cars,
  28. here there was a riot police van, there was a massive firetruck
  29. that didn't even make it because it couldn't even get in
  30. then they went to get another.
  31. There were ambulances everywhere...
  32. Oh God, my Lord.
  33. The police came without the slightest interest in talking
  34. and with the intent of expelling us in a way that we consider to be illegal
  35. because as far as we know the law allows us to stay for up to 90 days
  36. in public spaces after being notified.
  37. So, there was no notification, the notification was the eviction.
  38. We were waiting to be contacted by the authorities,
  39. as is obvious, we were not expected to be expelled
  40. so fast and with no chance to dialogue.
  41. What came next, basically, was a feeling of dissatisfaction.
  42. It was basically this that caused it,
  43. because the school had been occupied, we had started to formally plan activities,
  44. and we started to have people frequenting Es.Col.A
  45. we started to have neighbors visiting,
  46. a spontaneous dynamic started to evolve,
  47. Obviously, these things cannot stop like this from one moment to the next.
  48. Not simply with a police presence or with the will of Cityhall
  49. to close down the space, that people
  50. are going to turn their backs and go home and never think about any of this again.
  51. Assembly of the Es.Col.A of Fontinha, today at 6:30pm, in the Fontinha Square,
  52. to decide what to do, after the police take-over of the school today.
  53. And after the community struggle began.
  54. I would propose that we just send a letter to Cityhall saying the residents
  55. want Es.Col.A back before the Festival of São João [in June]
  56. We give them our time limit, and if we don't get what we want, we reoccupy.
  57. And we have something in our favor, that is a deadline which has not been met in time,
  58. probably. And that's what residents really want, indeed.
  59. And so, as City Hall did not have a way to tell us "no"
  60. City Hall, effectively, did not tell us "no"
  61. and the news went out in the media
  62. that a city councellor was interested in our project
  63. I think that was a huge mistake
  64. - even though I also have family who are police -
  65. they were big brutes, real idiots,
  66. to do what they did.
  67. All they had to do was come and ask the neighbours
  68. if we had something to say, if [the occupiers] were competent people
  69. if they were polite people, if we felt good with them here
  70. or if we were well treated.
  71. Knowing this, then they could have taken action.
  72. They should not have reacted the way they did.
  73. They were big idiots, big thugs,
  74. because that which you were doing was to do good,
  75. because meanwhile that was just a big mess of syringes,
  76. bottles, rubbish, and nobody turned up.
  77. but when you lot started working to improve the area...
  78. It was very good for the kids,
  79. it was very good for the elderly because
  80. - look - I am no baby, I am 81 years old.
  81. The Assemblies were getting more and more participation
  82. there were more people each time,
  83. all kinds of people, from different political backgrounds,
  84. other people who were completely apolitical,
  85. but always with a determined will to make things work.
  86. And yeah, I had a funny conversation with a woman who,
  87. on her own behalf,
  88. came with a number of different arguments,
  89. from "why don't you prefer to meet in a more comfortable room,
  90. with comfortable chairs, with air conditioning and where we can offer you a coffee?"
  91. To which I responded to her that would very much love to receive her
  92. in our own premises, but that we had been thrown onto the street.
  93. Well, I'll be honest...
  94. [If they create a project there that you would like they to create?]
  95. For me, for me, to go there, you know that it's really hard on me
  96. ... I can't commit to going there
  97. to say that I am going to go and then not make it, it's better to be sure of it from the beginning, isn't it?
  98. But ok, there are people who are going to be there, right?
  99. Who would like you to create some kind of, community space, right?
  100. A community space but even more necessary is for kids to have there
  101. the mums go to work and then the kids leave school
  102. and the kids would stay there.
  103. That was the [guy] from the Cityhall [Mayor Rui Rio]
  104. He was the one who took it from the kids - he was the one
  105. I think that he only does things that...
  106. Look, this was great big process because City Hall always kept quiet
  107. and keeping quiet, City Hall never wanted to know what happened
  108. and never wanted to know what motivated people to do this
  109. and what they were actually doing there
  110. why they were doing these things, City Hall refused to find out.
  111. Until the moment that, in my humble opinion, public pressure came
  112. "nobody can stop popular initiatives"
  113. "we claim the school for the people"
  114. "even walled in, the people will not keep quiet"
  115. "The 'Rio' [River] only makes dams and the people resist on the riverbanks"
  116. "Gone with the River"
  117. "The school is ours"
  118. "From es.col.a to the neigbourhood or from City Hall to abandonment?"
  119. "Better boarded-up then occupied?"
  120. "So as not to be 'smart' it's enough to be Mayor of lame City Hall"
  121. "Liberate spaces, create alternatives"
  122. On May 14 [the People's Assembly of Porto] passes all our support to the struggle of Es.Col.A,
  123. in defense of a project that allowed for the return to the community
  124. at least for a while,
  125. a school that had been closed for more than 5 years without any attention
  126. to the needs of people,
  127. their security and the education of their children.
  128. The violent eviction of the Es.Col.A of Alto da Fontinha
  129. constituted an act of arrogance and insensitivity
  130. in the defense of interests unknown to those of residents.
  131. All our support to the struggle and the Es.Col.A project
  132. of Alto da Fontinha.
  133. 14 de Maio, People's Assembly of Porto.
  134. And the opposition in turn pressured the City Hall,
  135. that in turn saw itself forced to give us some attention.
  136. The vicissitudes of democracy, right?
  137. Es.Col.A of Fontinha has had contact to the present with two city councilors
  138. Professor Guilhermina Rego,
  139. who is councilor on the committee of Knowledge and Social Cohesion.
  140. I really have no idea what that means...
  141. And councilor António Rebelo, if I'm not mistaken.
  142. Who is councilor for "Património,"
  143. that is the material assets and real estate that the City Hall possesses.
  144. And his assistants, that is, people meet
  145. like in the monumental teams.
  146. We knew in advance that in this Municipal Assembly
  147. the opposition was going to raise the question of Es.Col.A da Fontinha
  148. it was one of those Municipal Assemblies in which city residents
  149. sometimes have the right to speak
  150. although every time this happens
  151. the Mayor gets up and leaves
  152. So, first eviction, mobilisation, wave of solidarity
  153. rally behind City Hall...
  154. And City Hall decided to give us the keys!
  155. I get around on a bicycle, I do homework,
  156. I play with my friends too.
  157. It's everybody hanging out together!
  158. We constructed a gymnasium here, here we have boxing equipment,
  159. we have here a weights for body building...
  160. Oh and these guys are crazy, so one guy is from here
  161. did so much for this because this is the shit and now they want to kick us out of here, why?
  162. If there were any problems here...
  163. But there are none, and the neighbourhood even likes it.
  164. Children come here to play.
  165. And they come to study, and everything.
  166. After school support began here at Fontinha,
  167. it was one of the first activities, basically to help the kids
  168. after school with their homework
  169. study for tests,
  170. to learn whatever they want to learn.
  171. There were few children to start with, now usually there are more.
  172. Children from the area,
  173. the smallest ones are 5 years, up to 12.
  174. The educational support itself is one of the pillars
  175. of this project and everything is going well so far.
  176. Now... it is a bit difficult and complicated
  177. to alter the rhythms that children have in a normal school
  178. and for them to come here, and give them more responsibility
  179. and where you give them more freedom to learn
  180. and do what they want. But we try, this is the way.
  181. Can a put a little blue?
  182. Which one, this one?
  183. A blue.
  184. Til now it's been cool! Aside from a couple of slaps on the wrist that we got,
  185. This is not cool.
  186. Where was I?
  187. The City Hall said to Es.Col.A:
  188. "We are open to signing a contract to cede the space",
  189. for money, because City Hall - even though this is another conversation -
  190. right now they won't concede anything, it only rents
  191. and this is not part of any contract to cede the space
  192. all that is planned for are rental contracts, however cheap they may be,
  193. they are still always to rent.
  194. And City Hall has committed to signing a contract to cede the building.
  195. We signed a contract to cede the space.
  196. Two people were sent from the collective mandated to sign
  197. this contract of a promise that had a duration of 30 days
  198. for Es.Cola.A to constitute an association and ten days
  199. for both days to sign a contract.
  200. Es.Col.A constituted an association, notified City Hall and,
  201. until now, a contract to cede the space has never made it to us.
  202. Until now the day an eviction order arrives, five months later.
  203. When some still believed in the good will
  204. of City Hall in keeping its promise to send a contract to cede the space,
  205. stop being fooled, and here you have an eviction order.
  206. What I should say to the police...
  207. That they don't have to evict.
  208. If there are many people who like this here, then they don't have to evict.
  209. It doesn't affect at all
  210. At least me, I didn't notice the eviction notice having any demoralising effect.
  211. We had an eviction order for March 30
  212. til which time, again, the opposition
  213. decided to propose a suspension of this eviction order
  214. that was voted on in the Municipal Assembly,
  215. voted on and won with an abstention from the party bench
  216. that made the eviction order.
  217. And I am going to everything in my power to see that Es.Col.A doesn't leave...
  218. So that everybody escapes eviction!