AROUND 300 protesters turned up to support hundreds of workers who face losing their jobs over the closure of seven well known beach bars and restaurants in Javea on Spain’s Costa Blanca.
They bashed pots and pans and blew whistles in a so-called ‘cacerola’ protest until late on Thursday night.
Holding banners and signs of the devil, protestors slammed the authorities and town hall after the beachside restaurants in the popular seaside town were ordered to shut this week.
The mixed group of expats and Spanish are furious that the Arenal beach joints have been closed, over a licence issue that goes back a quarter of a century.
They insist the owners have ‘worked around the clock’ to try and sort out the issue, which is believed to stem from one neighbour complaining about noise.
“It’s ridiculous that so many people face losing their jobs and livelihoods after struggling through Covid,” said one expat Brit Charlie Bamber.
“We need solutions to this as it really isn’t fair.”
The owner of many of the restaurants, Edgar Slama, told the group that his businesses had the correct OCA certificate but had been waiting for 25 years for a licence from the coastal authorities.
The Frenchman also accused the town hall of ‘discrimination’ and asked how many other bars in the town did not have a full licence.
“I believe it is more than a thousand at least,” he said.
He added that the closing of his restaurants would lead to the loss of 200 jobs.
Javea council sent in police on Tuesday to shut two restaurants, Acqua and Bambula, while the Achill nightclub will get a police closure visit on Friday, it is understood.
A flood of social media messages slammed Javea council for its actions and the ‘damage’ it is doing to the local economy.
The Valencian regional authorities have ruled the seven outlets do not have the necessary licences.
They claim they have not informed the coastal authorities over use of protected land, a point that the owners dispute.
Another expat businessman, Sam Kelly, of Chorus Financial, described the bars as ‘very successful and well run businesses’.
“This will ruin the town and cost hundreds of jobs. It could even affect property prices,” he claimed. “I understand it boils down to one well connected local, a legal eagle, who bought a house nearby and doesn’t like the noise.”
The council stressed that any business correcting ‘deficiencies and infractions’ will be able to obtain a licence and reopen.
Two other premises, Atalaya and Balthasar, have not opened this season, but the council stated it has ‘initiated’ planning changes which will allow them to trade again.
The Salt and Botanico restaurants closed last Friday and, like the Javea Company, both have filed papers to overturn the measure in an Alicante court.
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