Spain: Firefighters refuse to be ‘puppets of the banks’

Spanish firefighters are refusing orders to participate in evictions because their duty is to “serve the public ” and intervene in “emergencies” and not to be “puppets of the bank or its servants in the government”.

Firefighters in Galicia, Catalonia and the Madrid region have rejected any action that “contributes to inequalities and miseries suffered by the working class,” said the CCOO union.

Galician fire crews “have proven to be on the side of social justice” by refusing to participate in the eviction of Aurelia Rey, an 85 year-old woman.

Some 200 protesters gathered to prevent the elderly lady’s eviction, which had been triggered because she had fallen behind on rent by one month. The action was organized by Stop Desahucios [Stop Evictions], a group formed to prevent thousands of evictions of those who have fallen behind on rent and mortgages due to austerity amid worsening economic conditions

The group succeeded in blocking police from forcefully throwing Aurelia Ray out of her property.

Last Saturday mass demonstrations against brutal repossession laws took place across Spain.

Current policy allows Spanish banks, which have been repeatedly bailed out by Spanish taxpayers and are line for a 100 billion euros EU bailout – that is from citizens across the EU – to repossess a home, while any remaining debt is still owed by the former owners.

More than 350,000 Spaniards have received eviction orders since 2008 because they were unable to pay their mortgages as a housing boom fuelled by the banks went bust.

Parliament has agreed to debate a citizens’ motion that would protect indebted homeowners from eviction and has also agreed to suspend foreclosures for two years.

However, the government has so far rejected permanent new legislation.