Protesters faced off against heavily armed and armored police in the Catalonian capital Barcelona to resist ongoing evictions as the coronavirus pandemic pushes many vulnerable residents to the brink of homelessness.
Footage uploaded to social media captures the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, being confronted by scores of anti-eviction protesters.
— Sindicat de Barri del Poble Sec (@sindicatdebarri) November 23, 2020
One video purportedly shows several squads of Mossos retreating from one neighborhood after an apparent failed eviction.
els gossos corren amb la cua entre les cames i el barri ho celebra!!!
— carla navarro bou 🍓 (@caaarrllaaa_2d) November 23, 2020
Following the eviction of a 50-year-old Peruvian woman in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona on Monday, dozens of neighbors gathered to challenge authorities, leading to a tense standoff where a dumpster was reportedly set on fire.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, many Spanish citizens have been unable to pay off their mortgages, with many homes repossessed by banks. This situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to further job losses in an already precarious job market.
Evictions are being carried out citing “flagrant usurpation” as the cause, which allows for removals of persons and families from properties without a court order.
Val @govern hem fet retirar als mossos del Raval.
Us passarem per damunt.
— Sindicat Habitatge Raval (@RavalSindicat) November 23, 2020
A moratorium on evictions from the first wave of the pandemic expired on June 20 and, as the second wave gathered pace, on November 11, Minister of the Interior Miquel Samper asked for an extension to May 2021, while apologizing for the recent eviction of a vulnerable family by the Mossos.
In September, the Spanish government extended its furlough scheme until January 31, while according to some estimates between 200,000 and 300,000 people could lose their jobs between November 1 and December 31 as coronavirus employment protection schemes conclude.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Spain is now headed for the biggest decline in activity of all developed economies in 2020, with an estimated 12.4 percent contraction in gross GDP forecast.
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The hospitality industry alone could lose to half of its annual €123 billion earnings and roughly a third of its 300,000 businesses.
Meanwhile, Pepe Alvarez, secretary general of the labor union UGT, is forecasting “an avalanche of layoffs” as the country’s twin crises of housing and unemployment look set to worsen dramatically in 2021, with or without an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Spain has recorded over 1.5 million cases of Covid-19, resulting in some 43,000 deaths.
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