A GROUP of rural activists who lived in an abandoned village to save money have been forced to leave or face the prospect of being jailed.
Once a military base, Las Fraguas, Spain, has closed several times but its latest revival has been put to an end by local authorities.
The rural Spanish village is more than 1000 years old[/caption]
A collective of young activists have occupied the land for the past nine years[/caption]
The small regional town has been occupied by a collective of young people for the last nine years.
It lies about 90 minutes north of Madrid and had been empty since 1968.
The rural folk occupied the land hoping to find a more sustainable life but are now getting the boot.
It is not the first time the village of Fraguas has been abandoned.
In the 1960s, it was expropriated by the Franco regime to make way for a huge reforestation programme.
Its second death came when it was used as an Army training ground.
And now in 2023, the local government of Castilla-La Mancha has ruled to close the settlement again.
The six activists who live there are facing fines of £96,000 or prison sentences of two years and three months.
Regional government authorities accused the Fraguas Revive of illegally occupying the site, which lies within a natural park.
Over the past ten years the group has restored buildings, installed solar panels, planted vegetables and made beer and jam on the site.
The punitive measures are believed to match the cost of demolishing what the group had rebuilt of the village.
In a statement, Fraguas Revive, said: “After ten years of struggle and three court cases, we have decided to end the project.
“Although it won’t continue, we believe it’s been a success in that it’s raised public awareness of rural depopulation.”
Isa Turina Rodriguez, a member of the collective, told the Guardian: “It’s very sad and frustrating that after so much effort the authorities have failed to come up with a solution.
“At a time when it’s so difficult for people to find somewhere to live, the authorities could have taken advantage of this group of young people who wanted to rebuild the village but instead they chose to criminalise us.”
Despite the group’s effort to plead its case, the regional government stood by its decision.
A government spokesman said: “Making changes to urbanise a protected natural space would encourage people to break the law and would also represent a social injustice as we would not be promoting that space for the use and enjoyment of everyone but for the use and enjoyment of a minority.”
Fraguas Revive has launched a crowdfunding drive to help pay the fines.
The small village is located in a natural park, north of Madrid[/caption]