Stop Evictions (Spain)


Thousands took to the streets of Zaragoza and other major cities across Spain at the weekend to protest against the ever-increasing numbers of evictions.

Since the economic crisis began in 2008 many workers have lost their jobs and as unemployment benefits start to run out many people are unable to pay their mortgages. As a result there has been a huge wave of evictions of families from their homes. Currently around 500 evictions are taking place every day across Spain.

A ‘Popular Legislative Initiative’ has been handed into the Congress by the national campaign groups ‘Stop Evictions’ and ‘Platform for those affected by mortgages’ demanding ‘dacion en pago’ (once the flat has been handed back to the banks, the debt should be cleared) and affordable, subsidised rents, as well as a full moratorium on evictions. Congress are obliged by law to debate the proposal as 1.4 million signatures have been collected in favour of these demands.

Pressure has been mounting due to a continuing spate of suicides by people on the verge of being evicted. Last week a couple in their 60s took their lives, leaving a note explaining the reason for their suicide was their imminent eviction.

Firefighters in La Coruña (Galicia) refused to participate in an eviction of a woman in her 80s at the weekend and firefighters’ unions are supporting their stand.

Prime Minister Rajoy has already been forced into a partial retreat in November after social pressure mounted; his party announced a two year motatorium on evictions for certain categories of people.

Now that over a million have backed the campaign it has become a major national issue as people are aware that while workers have paid for the bailouts of the banks with taxes and devastating public sector cuts those banks are showing no mercy to the millions of unemployed and low-paid workers who can no longer afford to pay their mortgages.

A popular chant on demonstrations here is: “It’s not a crisis; it’s a con!”

Report & Photographs Rachel Harris (Zaragoza, Spain)