Hundreds of British expatriates staged a protest in Malaga yesterday, appealing against Spanish government plans to demolish their Andalucia holiday homes.
The protest was staged in response to a ruling which gave Spanish authorities in the Andalucia region the right to demonlish any properties that they considered to be built on illegal land with just one month’s notice. It is anticipated that this could impact up to 100,000 properties in the region.
The protest, which were peaceful, consisted of a march accompanied by whistles, fog horns and signs. Amid chants of ‘Junta, why are you punishing us?’ the crowd embarked on its one-kilometre trail which began in the Plaza De La Marina. The majority of demonstrators were not personally impacted by the ruling themselves but turned out to show solidarity with those who were.
Marua Hillen, a representative from pressure group AUAN and speaking in the UK newspaper The Mail commented: “What’s great is how many different groups are here.
“We are really trying to build a coalition here.”
She added: “In the wrong hands, this legislation would be like putting machine guns in the hands of babies.”
The Spanish ruling has been made in response to allegations that former officials in the region had overdeveloped the coastal regions. Although the local governments had issued building licenses these were later declared to be illegal following court action instigated by the regional government. Phil Smalley, president of SOHA which organised the march, said his legally obtained planning permission had been annulled in the courts last month.
At a meeting with Ana María Moniz Sánchez, director general for the inspection of housing in Andalucia, he says he was told all illegal properties would be legalised or ‘returned to dust’.
SOHA is campaigning for compensation for those whose homes are demolished.