Reply To: Protest March: Almería City: 9th January at 12 noon.



Hi -me again. An elderly Spanish lady I know gives me the following to post here..

We have organized this march to protest against the urban abuses in Almería province. The 9th of January is the first anniversary of the demolition of the Prior’s house in Vera. For those of you who don’t know, this retired British couple built their house with all the necessary licenses granted by the Vera Town Hall in 2002. Nevertheless, the Junta de Andalucía considered their house to be illegal and, in the end, it was bulldozed. To date, the Priors are living in their garage and there is no sign of any solution or compensation of any kind from the Spanish authorities. Every day there are more and more cases of abuse of this type. The confusion of the Spanish legal system and its arbitrary application affect all of us.

I am here to emphasise that this situation does not only affect the British. I was a farmacist and have lived in Garrucha since my retirement. Earlier this year I joined AULAN, an association for the defence of victims of urban abuse, even though I did not have any personal problems at the time. I thought that the Priors’ rights had been violated and it seemed to me that more cases of this kind could happen to anyone.

To my surprise, two months later, I learned that a new “highway” was going to be built right in front of my house. I have lived in a complex of 92 units, all occupied by Spanish, for 30 years. The town hall intends to expropriate our gardens and parking space and each household is expected to contribute 3000 euros so that the road can be built. This agreement was signed six years ago without any of us being notified. So we are yet another case of what the international press calls “land grab”. Your land is taken without compensation and what’s worse, you must pay for your share of the infrastructure costs and you have no say in the matter, as incredible as it may seem.

AULAN is an information and pressure group, one of many citizens’ groups which are mushrooming everywhere in Spain. In September, we organized a peaceful march in Cantoria for the regularisation of some 5000 homes which are currently considered to be illegal – although, once again, all permissions were given. So far it appears that the authorities are taking us seriously. But we must keep the pressure on and for this to happen, we need the collaboration of everybody.

You all know that the global economy is collapsing. The property market here in Spain is dead. Foreign residents are fleeing in mass. The international press writes about the lack of legal transparency in our property market. The European Parliament has already come three times to Spain to investigate our cases of urban abuse. The foreigners will not be coming back until they feel secure about their rights and their property. We have killed the golden goose.

It is time for ordinary citizens to take responsibility for our lives and to begin fighting back against ineffective politicians – from every party – who have brought us to this situation. The non-Spanish who are coming on this march are those who don’t want to leave Spain, who consider Spain to be their home. That is why I urge all Spanish to help us convince them not to leave, to show them that Spain is not a lawless country. But most of all, I ask that we Spanish get involved and learn to protect our rights and our property. Only then will we have true democracy.

Concha Arranz