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REFUGEE CRISIS

“Refugees welcome,” reads sign on Madrid City Hall

Council in the capital says it has been flooded with support from citizens in face of crisis

Madrid City Hall placed a large banner on its headquarters in the Spanish capital on Monday, that reads “REFUGEES WELCOME.” The council, run by leftist bloc Ahora Madrid, made the move to express its solidarity with the increasing numbers of asylum seekers from countries such as Syria who are desperately trying to enter Western Europe.

The council said that it wanted to show its “support for human rights and how, from the municipalities, it is possible to assist with this type of crisis […].”

The measure is in line with a Barcelona city council initiative to create a network of cities that will help refugees

The banner will be left in place, City Hall reported, for at least a week. It is eight meters by four meters, and cost a total of €434.15.

“Madrid is the city of the hug, and through this symbolic gesture, we want to express the solidarity of its residents with the dramatic situation of the thousands of families that are having to flee their countries of origin,” the council added.

The measure is in line with an initiative begun by the Barcelona city council to create a network of cities across Spain that will help refugees. Madrid is among the cities to have signed up to that plan.

The councillor in Madrid for Social Services and Employment, Marta Higueras, said on Monday that she was overwhelmed by the amount of calls and emails that City Hall had received from citizens who wanted to help out refugees. “It’s amazing to see how the floods of calls and emails are coming in to the council from citizens who want to offer rooms or apartments, doctors who are offering their assistance or people who are simply asking how they can help,” Higueras said.