'Robin Hood' supermarket looters arrested in Spain

9th August 2012, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police have arrested two left-wing activists who looted two supermarkets and filled trolleys with food to give to the needy, a union official said Thursday.

The interior ministry issued arrest warrants Wednesday for the group that carried out the raids, including its leader Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, a member of the regional parliament for the United Left party in Andalucia and mayor of the village of Marinaleda in southern Spain.

Sanchez Gordillo and the other activists burst into two supermarkets in Ecija and Arcos de la Frontera on Wednesday and filled trolleys with packets of food such as pasta, oil and biscuits to give out to the poor, who they say do not have enough money to feed themselves in the economic crisis.

Police detained two of the activists Wednesday and they spent the night at a police station in Seville, said Jose Caballero of the Andalucia Workers Union.

They are scheduled to appear before a judge later on Thursday, he added.

Sanchez Gordillo, who has not been arrested, spent the night with a group of left-wing activists at a protest camp made up of tents and mattresses on a farm near the town of Osuna.

"We know that the authorities are going to demand that Sanchez Gordillo and possibly other comrades appear before a judge but they have not yet received their notifications," Caballero said.

The activists have for the past fortnight occupied a 1,200-hectare (2,965-acre) farm that belongs to the defence ministry to demand a more equal distribution of land in Andalucia, which has a tradition of large landholdings.

Andalucia has been hit particularly hard by a recession brought on by the collapse of Spain's construction industry. The region, which had a major construction industry, currently has an unemployment rate of nearly 34 percent.

© 2012 AFP

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