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Spanish gypsies lament after homes demolished

Susana Vera / Reuters

Left: Christian Gabarri sweeps the floor of a relatives' home where his family moved to after the demolition of their own home at the Spanish gypsy settlement of Puerta de Hierro, outside Madrid, Spain, Nov. 15, 2011. Right: The remains of Gabarri's home months after it was demolished, June 26, 2012.

Photographer Susana Vera documented the demolition of a long-standing gypsy community in Spain over the course of several months. She has created diptychs that pair images from before and after the demolition, as well as tell the story of the effect on the communities, showing the demolition of houses and the displacement of families.

Susana Vera / Reuters — Fifty four families have been living in Puerta de Hierro, on the banks of the Manzanares River, north of Madrid, for over 50 years. The settlers are registered with the local government and have access to public services, but since the summer of 2010 have been subject to evictions under orders from Madrid's town planning board, on the grounds that the dwellings are illegal. Some of the eldest members of the community have been relocated to social rent flats in the city, but often their children and grandchildren have been denied the same right, leaving them homeless. The relatives whose houses are still standing take them in while the debris keeps piling up as more demolitions take place.

Susana Vera / Reuters

Left: Agustin Gabarri watches television at his home in Madrid's Spanish gypsy settlement of Puerta de Hierrom, Spain, Dec. 20, 2011. Gabarri's daughter-in-law Covadonga Jimenez looking at the remains of his home the day it was demolished Feb. 15, 2012.

Susana Vera / Reuters

Left: Moises Echevarria and his father stand in front of a line of police after the demolition of their home in Madrid's Spanish gypsy settlement of Puerta de Hierro, Spain, Feb. 15. Right: A photo of Echevarria's cousin, Gema Gabarri, lies next to the remains of her grandparents' house, where she lived, weeks after it was demolished Aug. 11.

Susana Vera / Reuters

Left: Milagros Echevarria cries outside her home in Madrid's Spanish gypsy settlement of Puerta de Hierro, Spain, Jan. 20, 2012. Right: Echevarria's husband Antonio Gabarri looks at the remains of their home hours after it was demolished July 17, 2012.

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