Hundreds in Spain protest eviction of ‘indignant’ activists
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.