Some 500 people joined the march in Estepona to call for the protection of the Sierra Bermeja. / SUR

Protesters demand maximum protection for Sierra Bermeja

A demonstration organised by the Ecologists in Action organisation was held in Estepona last weekend in support of a campaign for the Sierra Bermeja to be categorised as a National Park

Tony Bryant

Some 500 people took part in a protest march in Estepona last weekend to demonstrate their support for a campaign for the Sierra Bermeja to be categorised as a National Park along with neighbouring Sierra de las Nieves that was awarded the extra protection this year.

The march, under the banner of Sierra Bermeja Parque Nacional Ya, was called for by Ecologists in Action Sierra Bermeja, a platform that offers information about the unique ecological value of the region. The campaign was supported by more than 40 non-profit organisations, 12 political parties, several local businesses and individuals from all over Malaga province.

The protest came in the wake of the devastating forest fires that wreaked havoc in the Sierra Bermeja in September. The blaze severely affected the heart of the area's most important centre of biodiversity, Los Reales. The fire also took the life of firefighter Carlos Martínez Haro and affected seven municipalities, forcing more than 2,700 people to be evacuated from their homes.

Organisers claimed that the demonstration was proof that many people in the Estepona area demand maximum protection for the region.

Call for urgent administrative attention

At the end of the march, a manifesto was read that requested necessary and urgent administrative attention to care for the sierra and its surroundings in the face of the constant risk of forest fires. The group claimed that protection as a National Park would also prevent the plundering of natural resources, which they claim is “also a constant threat”.

“All the benefits that this sierra brings can only continue with the cataloguing of the mountain area as a National Park, since it has all the scientific endorsements and social support equired,” a spokesperson for the platform declared.