Diehard protestors knocked over a statue of a bull at an estimated cost of 3 euro for the humble bull – just one of a growing number of forms of protest taking place in areas across Spain inhabited by migrant tenants.
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Citizens throughout the country are taking to the streets to protest the wave of evictions hitting the homes of immigrants who cannot make payments on their rent – almost five million of them.
Groups like Occupy Hotels have taken to Facebook to force landlords to pay their overdue rent and sign contracts with tenants to stay, while several groups organized rallies in over 20 towns and cities on Sunday to protest renters’ losses, as evictions skyrocket in Spain.
Spain’s ‘1.5 million homeless immigrants’ along with political leaders, trade unions and ordinary people are united against the evictions of immigrant tenants such as Nandrata, a 29-year-old woman who spoke to Fox News about her eviction as she prepared dinner for family in Madrid.
“They are taking our life away. Today’s Spain is the result of colonialism and inequality of power. They took our land, they have no idea how it felt to be born a free people and still they think that they are free. They are as the time they were taken from us,” Nandrata said.
The numbers of evictions are shocking: In 2005, 7,000 people were evicted in Spain. In 2010 that number increased to 130,000. In 2011, 203,000 homes were evicted.
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According to Voice of Spain, over the past two years, nearly 100,000 housing units have been sold off in properties rented to immigrants in the towns of Madrid, Zaragoza, Sevilla, Salamanca, Valencia, Almeria, San Sebastian, Cordoba, Alcala, Castellon, Oviedo, Alicante, Agadir, Majorca, Barcelona, Malaga, A Coruña, Laboralde and Las Palmas.
Spanish law stipulates that the land owner, regardless of race, gender or nationality, must pay the amount of the rent in advance and must evict the tenants who do not pay.
If landlords could pay the rent and all the legal fees for the tenant, they would not be evicted.
Madrid, Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante, and Barcelona are amongst the most affected areas for undocumented migrant eviction, according to VOSAT.org, a Spanish non-profit that lobbies for immigrant rights.
Politicians in Madrid are reluctant to comment about the surge in foreclosures, but Catalonia’s interior minister criticized the wave of evictions in Catalonia.
“The unemployment rate among immigrants is very high at 44 percent. Most will not have the money to pay the rent, even if they maintain their jobs. Those homes are taken by landlords who are not living among the population, who have never worked in a country where unemployment is this high. They should pay for the property themselves.”
Xela Perez was placed into exile with her seven children by landlords who claimed it was not feasible to pay back the rent.
Perez’s requests for assistance have not been granted by the Spanish government, who is responsible for housing rents.
“They want us to be invisible and reject us. Even if we are known and even if they are trying to evict us – if someone found us, how would they know we are legally owed the rent, how would they find us?” Perez asked.
Protesters and families are taking to the streets with various tactics, and the number of evictions has been pushed past five million. Recent studies have found that 40% of immigrants in Spain face eviction.