Andalusian workers dislodged from protest camp; IU condemns lawlessness
Renegade mayor promises more action and to "march to every Andalusian province"
A further five members of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT) were arrested on Friday for taking part in the supermarket raids coordinated by the mayor of Marinaleda and a United Left (IU) deputy in the regional assembly, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, earlier this week.
Two of the detainees, Néstor Salvador and José Caballero, were later released. Both men face charges of robbery with violence and public order offenses, as do two other SAT members arrested a day earlier. Salvador was detained at the Las Turquillas estate in Osuna, Seville, when 100 police and civil guards moved in to break up a makeshift camp occupied by SAT members for the past 18 days.
Gordillo, who had previously said that the actions were a “symbolic” gesture to draw attention to the plight of day laborers in Andalusia, said his group would leave the area “peacefully.”
SAT spokesman Diego Cañamero said the workers “do not wish to clash with anybody.” The union wants the disused military base to be put up for public auction so it can be obtained and used by collective farmers in the area.
The IU hierarchy on Friday sought to distance itself from Gordillo’s rabble-rousing campaign. The controversial mayor, who has been in office for 33 years, has promised more supermarket raids. The leader of the IU’s coalition partner in Andalusia, Socialist José Antonio Griñán, spoke of “barbarism.”
However, Gordillo pointed out in an interview with this newspaper: “If my party, and it says so in its manifesto, is anti-capitalist, it shouldn’t have a problem.”
“What is really barbaric is that in Andalusia there are 1.25 million unemployed, that 34 percent of the active population is unemployed, that three million people live below the poverty line and that, according to the latest report by Cáritas, there are 350,000 families living on food aid,” Gordillo continued. “I think what is really serious are the ERE case [Andalusian government corruption scandal], where we are talking about 1.7 billion euros, the Gürtel scandal, [Iñaki] Urdangarin; that there are 100 billion euros in the underground economy, and that our famous sportsman don’t pay taxes because they have all their money in tax havens.
“There are many things more barbarous than simply carrying out an act of peaceful disobedience to draw attention to the fact that this crisis has a face and a name. As Mariano Rajoy said [about swingeing public spending cuts], we don’t like what we’re doing, but we have no other choice because of social circumstances that he doesn’t see.”
Despite the arrests, Gordillo promised more action. “We are going to march to every Andalusian province, and we are not ruling out reoccupying Las Turquillas. We are obliged to grab attention in this way so that somebody stops and thinks. They have to understand that people here are desperate.”