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In pictures and video: Around 15,000 people attend major rally to demand action to solve Malaga's housing crisis

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Salvador Salas / Ñito Salas
Housing crisis

In pictures and video: Around 15,000 people attend major rally to demand action to solve Malaga's housing crisis

Demonstrators criticised mass tourism as they shouted impassioned pleas calling for a resolution to a lack of affordable housing for locals in the city

Antonio M. Romero

Malaga

Monday, 1 July 2024, 10:43

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More than 15,000 people took to the streets of Malaga city and demanded action against the current housing crisis on Saturday 29 June.

Under the slogan, 'Malaga to live, not to survive', demonstrators protested against the high demand for homes to purchase or rent, the lack of houses available on the market and criticised governments for their inaction. The situation has worsened in recent years, affecting people of different generations and from various socio-economic backgrounds, even resulting in some people deciding to leave the city.

During the protest, dubbed 29J (29 June), people also criticised mass-tourism in the city, with anger directed at city mayor Francisco de la Torre and Junta president Juanma Moreno.

The march exceeded the expectations of the organisers, Malaga Tenants' Union. They started preparing for the protest months ago, which involved neighbourhood meetings and the participation of almost 50 organisations such as Greenpeace, the Professional Association of Social Work in Malaga, the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid, the Diocesan Delegation of Migration, Doctors of the World and Malaga Acoge. The organisers said in a statement that 29J "had not only been a resounding success, but is already a milestone. The first milestone of a new cycle of neighbourhood and urban struggles to recover the city in which we live and work".

Plaza de la Merced was the starting point of the demonstration, then at the nearby Plaza de María Guerrero, a group of ultra-right-wing activists burst into the march chanting slogans such as "social housing for the nationals", and were booed by demonstrators who shouted: "fascists out of our neighbourhoods".

Slogans

During the march, one of the most chanted slogans asked where the city mayor was: "Where is Paquito, where is Paquito, where is he? Paquito is selling what is left of the city". Demonstrators also chanted: "Mass tourism, neighbourhoods without neighbours".

There were also numerous banners with slogans referring to the housing situation and the current tourism model: "I want to live, not survive", "Malaga for the neighbours", "I live off tourism, but tourism doesn't let me live", "It's not tourism-phobia, it's Malagaphilia".

Manifesto

The manifesto read out during the protest criticised the current housing situation as "tourist collapse and scavenger renting" and that residents have been replaced by visitors to the city. "We say loud and clear that it's over, that we will not allow them to expel us from the city and continue to exploit us. We are staying. We will not allow the city to be an amusement park emptied of residents, we will not allow shops to be replaced by franchises, pavements by terraces, and rents by eviction letters".

"We send out a cry to the whole city and a warning to those who govern us: this has only just begun. We will defend to the end the social function of housing, the right to the city and everything that they are trying to take away from us: the city of our neighbours, our neighbourhoods, our homes, our lives," concluded the manifesto.

Along with the public, the march was attended by the national secretary general of Podemos Ione Belarra, her counterpart in Andalucía Martina Velarde and city councillor Nico Sguiglia. Provincial secretary of the Socialists party in Malaga Dani Pérez also attended the protest, as well as regional MPs Isabel Aguilera and Alicia Murillo, national MP Ignacio López; general coordinator of IU and councillor Toni Morillas, his Andalusian counterpart Toni Valero and spokesperson for Adelante Andalucía in Malaga Luis Rodrigo.

Political criticism

Before the protest, Belarra accused Moreno of "acting like a real salesman for the real estate bosses", considering he "works for the big landowners and not for the residents", and called for "forceful" measures to tackle mass-tourism.

"The problem of mass-tourism is a very profound problem that makes housing more expensive, drives up its price, also makes the working conditions of the people who work in this sector very difficult and harms the environment. It generates so many problems that we need strong, courageous measures," he said, while calling for a moratorium on tourist housing and "a drastic reduction in the amount of tourist housing that currently exists.

Dani Pérez claimed "an insensitive mayor" is throwing families out of their homes. "Housing is a right, not a business," he said. "Thousands of people from Malaga have taken to the streets to protest against the housing situation. It is impossible to rent or buy a decent home. Malaga is where the price of renting and buying has risen the most and the situation is unbearable," Paco de la Torre said.

MP Ignacio López said: "Enough of this PP model that expels the people of Malaga from Malaga". Meanwhile, Toni Valero demanded the president of the Junta comply with the housing law, and that he declare densely-populated areas in capitals and large cities to regulate rents and lower the price of housing, and promote the construction of public housing.

Following the protest Morillas said: "Today marks the beginning of a change of direction for the city of Malaga, from today these transformations begin so that we can turn the city model around".

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