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BBC World Service

‘Flashmobs’ in Spain to protest foreclosures

Sarah Rainsford Jul 20, 2011
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JEREMY HOBSON: If you think our nine percent unemployment rate
is bad, just look at Spain.

Theirs is more than 20 percent, and it’s pushed a record number of families to default on their mortgages.

Now as the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford
reports from Madrid, protesters have come up with an unusual way of keeping people in their homes.


SARAH RAINSFORD: This is a wave of direct action by young Spanish protestors, almost every day they’re sending out notices on Twitter to form ‘flashmobs’ and protest against the high number of foreclosures here.

Crowds appear in front of a home — chanting and singing — and block access to the house that banks are trying to repossess.

They have already forced the suspension of more than 60 foreclosures.

The economic crisis has left almost five million Spaniards unemployed. That’s what worries protestors, like Eloi Morte.

ELOI MORTE: In firts three months of year — it’s been around 15,000 families evicted from their houses. In Spain there’s a big crisis. People have lost their jobs.

One reform the protestors demand — is for banks to cancel all outstanding debt, if a borrower hands over the keys to their property.

Economists though warn that could cost the banks $5.5 billion dollars, a real problem for Spain’s financial sector, which is already shaky.

But the protestors are determined, they’ve vowed they’ll keep flash-mobbing until things change here.

In Madrid, I’m the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford for Marketplace.

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