ENVIRONMENTAL activists from the Futuro Vegetal (Vegetable Future) group on Thursday sprayed black and red paint on part of the children’s nativity scene outside El Corte Ingles department store in Madrid’s central Preciados street.

The collective, which has already carried out similar non-violent protests in museums and at sports events, is protesting against the ‘agro-food model’, which, it said in a tweet, ‘is directly responsible for the current climate emergency’.

One of the members of the collective told news agency EFE that their protests are aimed at getting the Spanish government to stop its financing of the livestock sector in order to mitigate the climate emergency. 

At today’s protest, which started at around 10am, the collective also denounced that El Corte Inglés sells brands that are ‘bringing down the planet’, adding that the stores ‘are playing with our lives’, according to a report in online news site El Salto. 

Police sources in Madrid also told EFE that several of the protestors were identified on the scene and that three of them are facing fines. According to a tweet from Futuro Vegetal, none of the collective’s members were arrested. 

In November, Futuro Vegetal staged a protest in Madrid’s Prado Museum. They spray-painted ‘1.5ºC’ on the wall between Goya’s Las Majas paintings and glued their hands to the frames. 

The children’s Christmas scenes outside El Corte Ingles department stores are an essential part of the holiday season for many Spanish families. Known as ‘Cortylandia’, the scenes feature colourful animatronic characters, which sing Christmas carols and songs during a 15-minute show. 

Cortylandia scenes are set up every Christmas not just at the iconic branch of the store in Preciados street, located just off the central Puerta del Sol square, but also at the chain’s biggest shopping centres throughout the country. The first Cortylandia dates back to 1979.

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