|thinkSPAIN , Friday, September 5, 2014|
|A FIREFIGHTER who was fined for refusing to evict an 85-year-old lady who had fallen behind with her rent appeared in court yesterday (Thursday) to appeal.
Roberto Rivas, head of the fire brigade in A Coruña in the north-western region of Galicia, was sent along with other members of the force to break down the door of Aurelia Rey’s home so the police could bodily remove her from the property.
But once there, he refused to have anything to do with the eviction, and joined a crowd of several hundred people from the anti-repossession pressure group Stop Desahucios who had gathered round the door.
Rivas was fined 600 euros for ‘disobedience’ and ‘public disorder’, but says he would do it all again and that the fire brigade ‘should not be carrying out this type of work’.
Whilst the chief firefighter says his refusal to help evict the elderly lady was ‘not premeditated’, he insisted it is ‘not the fire brigade’s job’ and that his refusal to cut the chain and remove the ‘Stop Desahucios’ sticker placed on the door by protesters could not be considered ‘disobedience’, since he had not been given specific instructions to do so.
“There is no law obliging us to take part in evictions or repossessions, and the day there is one, we will refuse to comply with it. Then and only then can we be accused of disobedience, but I would refuse to follow these instructions anyway,” stressed Rivas.
“It’s one thing for something to be ‘legal’, and another for it to be ‘legitimate’. There are laws which incite violence. It’s a form of terrorism created by the governments,” he said.
The city council has never taken legal action against him, and the police ‘lied’ about having ‘formally identified’ him, since they never asked for his ID card.
“It has become patently clear that the police do not know how they managed to identify me, and the facts of the case are very different from those for which I am being fined – the police officers who witnessed the incident are lying, and these actions against me are a form of repression,” Rivas states.
The attempted eviction was 18 months ago, and Aurelia Rey, now 86, managed to reach an agreement with her landlords with the help of Stop Desahucios, allowing her to continue living in her apartment.
Roberto Rivas immediately appealed against his 600-euro fine, but the hearing only came to court this week.
The outcome of his appeal has not been announced, but Rivas said he would refuse to take part in any evictions in the future however much he was fined and disciplined for his stance.
He was fully backed by several political parties at local and regional level, with the exception of the reigning PP.