Hundreds in Spain protest eviction of 'indignant' activists

5th December 2011, Comments 2 comments

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Madrid on Monday to demonstrate against the eviction of around 100 activists who had been occupying a hotel and theatre for nearly two months.

The "indignant" protesters have been speaking out against the country's financial woes and the eviction of indebted home owners.

They occupied the abandoned Madrid Hotel and neighbouring Albeniz theatre on October 15 in the heart of the Spanish capital and have since allowed families who were evicted from their homes for failing to meet their mortgage payments or rent payments to live there.

"If the government can't offer a solution for these people, why do they prevent us from doing something about it? It is shameful," said 23-year-old Cesar Botijo who said he is part of the the "indignant" movement.

Six police fans and dozens of police in riot gear blocked the road leading from the central Puerta del Sol square where the protest began to the nearby hotel and theatre.

"With each eviction, another occupation," and "Cruelty against the people only reinforces our unity," were some of the signs on display.

Authorities removed 93 people from the abandoned Madrid Hotel near the capital's central Puerta del Sol square where the movement began in May.

Another 10 people were removed from a nearby abandoned theatre, police said in a statement.

The 103 protesters were accused of "seizure of property assets" but were not arrested.

About 30 of the group were questioned to establish their identity.

"There was a woman who has cancer staying at the hotel, there were families with young children who got very scared when police stormed in, they started crying," said Claudia, a young woman who was at the hotel when police moved in and who declined to give her last name.

Spain's "indignant" protest movement was born when thousands protested in Puerta del Sol ahead of May 22 municipal elections to vent anger over the high jobless rate, corrupt politicians and government policies which they say favour big business and banks over ordinary people.

They set up a vast ramshackle protest 'village' in the square that included everything from a canteen to a kindergarten and a library. It was dismantled in June by demonstrators under pressure from the authorities.

But members of the movement have since staged regular, overwhelmingly peaceful protests that in some cases have drawn tens of thousands.

© 2011 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Alan posted:

    on 10th December 2011, 21:15:45 - Reply

    After redundancy, I had to move to get work. I couldn't sell my house, so it is let with a tenant; this helps me pay the morgage and the other bills that I still have to pay on the house while I am renting near where I now work.

    Under Spanish laws, my tenant could stop paying and I can't do anything without a court order which could take 6-12 months to get. In that time, the tenant is living rent free. If they also stop paying the utility bills, I am responsible for them too. Even once I get a court order, I still have to pay to get them evicted, and have ZERO chance of getting any money back, compensation, or even damages for anything they do to the property.

    So tell me what I did to the indignados that means I have to give them a free house and pay their bills.

    What about those with a pension, and whose pension fund owns the house? They should loose their pension so that an indignado doesn't have to pay anything to the pension company, but still live in the house?
  • Mark Armstrong posted:

    on 7th December 2011, 13:16:35 - Reply

    The indignados are 100 per cent right. Whatever the behaviour of people who took out loans they can't pay it is nothing compared to the irresponsibility of the banks who lent the money. We tax payers bailed out the banks. Now they need to be forced to help people. Throwing people on the street is not only immoral but stupid since we will only end up having to house them anyway. Shame on the Spanish government and the banks. Wait and see what happens when young people all over Europe really get angry.