Yesterday supplies of water, gas and electricity were cut off to residents fighting for their homes, and bars placed across all access points.
Today, as nine exhausted elderly homeowners woke up to almost certainly the last day in apartments they bought decades ago, demolition work began on Edifício Jardim – better known as Prédio Coutinho – in Viana do Castelo bringing to an end a 20-year fight with the local council.
The perceived cruelty of this situation has shocked the nation.
Prédio Coutinho is coming down because it was deemed ‘visual pollution’ over 20 years ago.
The council intends to replace it with a municipal market – and diehard residents have been standing in its way through thick and thin… up till today.
Today, time appears finally to be up.
Say reports, on top of losing their homes – purchased completely legally – embattled residents are being prosecuted by environment agency VianaPolis for ‘disobedience’ in their failure to comply with a judicial order.
At time of writing this morning, at least one had suffered some kind of health emergency, requiring the callout of an INEM ambulance.
Police have surrounded the building, while the sound of workmen using power drills inside can be clearly heard.
For background to this story (click here).
An opinion piece in Sol online newspaper today considers the situation shows the “power of the State and the uselessness of journalism”.