Building residents in Arroios are filing criminal charges against the private security firm that tried to evict them from Lisbon

A group of 26 people, including volunteers, users and residents of Seara, filed a criminal complaint against LB Segurança Privada company and real estate fund Spark Capital, who tried in June to evict residents of an illegally inhabited building and where it was located found. a center to support people in need.

The story goes back to June 8, 2020 when a group of about ten private security guards entered a building in Largo de Santa Bárbara in Arroios, Lisbon, shortly after 5 a.m. This shelter had been occupied a month earlier by a group of volunteers who had founded the Seara – Santa Bárbara Mutual Assistance Center, which provided a range of answers – bathing, washing clothes, and sleeping – for the homeless. In this building, 13 users have made the room their home.

According to the complainants, the day after the land was occupied on May 10, the Lisbon City Council, the Prosecutor General, the Public Security Police and the Ombudsman were informed of the objectives of the occupation and the activities that would be developed there. You could not contact the owner, Spark Capital. However, on June 3, representatives from Spark Capital, accompanied by PSP agents, arrived to proceed with the eviction. The agents themselves reported that they could not evacuate the property without a court order.

Five days later, a group of private security guards hired by the owner of the property entered the building at dawn, “armed and with their physical strength and intimidating demeanor” to evict the residents, they describe. The PSP would eventually be called to the scene by the inmates themselves by 6:39 a.m.

The basis of the criminal complaint filed on December 9th are the actions of the private security company hired by the owner of the property. It could be the disregard of the legal system governing the exercise of private security activities (Law No. 34/2013), which violates some of the provisions, namely Article 5, which prohibits these professionals “from carrying out the activities for which it is the subject Pursuit of goals or the performance of functions that correspond to the exclusive powers of the judicial or police authorities ”or acts that“ threaten, inhibit or limit the exercise of rights, freedoms and guarantees or other fundamental rights ”.

“The eviction could not have been carried out in this way because, even if it comes from illegal employment, it must meet certain criteria set out in Article 13 of the Basic Law on Housing Construction,” explains one of the PUBLIC participants in the process Lawyers.

This article defines the assumptions to protect and monitor the eviction, which, according to the lawyer, were run over several times during this process due to neither prior notice of eviction nor judicial decision about it and because it started overnight. “When he hired a private security company for the evacuation, he knew he was breaking the law because he didn’t have a legitimate title – conviction
Eviction by decree – to do this, ”the document says.

June 8 was marked by a climate of great tension near the building, with dozens of people pouring into the construction site and clashes with the police that, according to reports at the time, would ultimately lead to at least five injuries.

By the end of that night, three of the residents stayed in the building, who left later. Some of the inmates were then relocated from Santa Casa da Misericórdia and the Câmara de Lisboa in emergencies. The building was then walled up.

A few days later, the PSP, whose performance was highly contested for allowing security guards to stay inside the building all day, issued a statement claiming it had collected evidence suggesting that private security guards ” Activities that are sealed there “. The National Directorate of the PSP indicated that these facts had been communicated to the public ministry and the private security guards identified on site.

This practice, in violation of Article 5 of the Law on the Exercise of Private Security Activities under the provisions of 57, violates an offense punishable by a fine of up to 480 days or up to four years in prison.

According to the plaintiffs, the owner acted “in absolute disregard of the guiding principles of the democratic rule of law in indisputable violation of the principle of prohibition of self-defense as set out in Article 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which provides for this to realize or to ensure. ”

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