Police outside the building. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


On Monday, a group of fifteen squatters took over a new apartment building in Palma. The developer was due to hand the keys over to the owners later in the day. When the squatters broke in, the alarms went off and a number of National Police officers went to the scene. They guarded the entrance to the building on C. Aragón and wouldn't let anyone in or out, with the exception of the head of the Gypsy Federation, Carlos Cortés.

He was called in around 4pm to act as a negotiator. The fifteen squatters, who included children, were all gypsies. They said that they had nowhere else to go. "Their situation was desperate because they had children," Cortés explained later.

When the squatters entered the building, the electricity supply to the apartments had not been turned on. There continued to be no supply, which was a factor in the squatters finally agreeing to leave after some four hours of negotiation. Cortés told them that if they didn't leave the building, "police and judicial pressure would not cease". Once they had left, he remarked that "the housing situation for gypsy families without resources is desperate".