Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thousands of Spaniards Say 'No More Evictions'

1000s of Spaniards say ‘no more evictions’

Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:58PM GMT

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in many cities and towns in Spain to demand the ratification of a new law that would end the eviction of homeowners, which has risen dramatically during the recession.

Demonstrations were staged in over 50 cities and towns across the country on Saturday in the latest street actions taken to protest against the harsh economic reforms adopted by the conservative government over the past few months.

Several thousand people attended the demonstration in Madrid, chanting “We have no homes” and holding banners reading “Stop evictions.”

On Tuesday, Spanish MPs agreed to discuss a bill consisting of measures to protect poor homeowners that is supported by a petition signed by over 1.4 million people.

The Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH) began the petition and organized Saturday’s demonstrations to pressure Spanish MPs to address the issue and ratify the bill as a law.

"I think it will pass, and it will not be thanks to the politicians but to pressure from citizens in the street," said one protester while waving a banner reading “Government resign.”

Hundreds of thousands of people have been evicted from their homes since the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs.

The bill proposed by PAH would end evictions and allow insolvent homeowners to cancel their debts by surrendering their home. However, under the current law, a bank could pursue a mortgage holder to pay off the remaining balance of a loan if the value of the seized home was not sufficient.

PAH issued a statement saying, "We will not stand by idle waiting for the initiative to come to parliament."

"We call on all political parties to vote in favour of the initiative and proceed with it urgently," the statement added.

The prospect of eviction has angered people all over the country and has pushed a number of people to commit suicide.

A retired couple committed suicide on Tuesday after they received an eviction notice ordering them to vacate their home on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca due to unpaid debts.

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