7 Jul, 2023 @ 13:30
1 min read

Billboard installed by right-wing evictions company in Madrid targeted by protestors

Protestors unveil billboard in Madrid

A HUGE advertising billboard installed in central Madrid by a notorious right-wing evictions company continued to cause controversy on Friday, after activists partially covered it up with their own poster. 

Desokupa, a firm that specialises in evicting squatters, unveiled the billboard on Monday of this week in the Atocha neighborhood. On it is a picture of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as well as the owner of Desokupa, Daniel Esteve. 

There is also an image of the PM’s official jet and a Moroccan flag. The slogan reads: “You go to Morocco, Desokupa [vacate] La Moncloa,” a reference to the prime ministerial palace.

The billboard is making reference to immigrants from North Africa in Spain, the criticism of Sanchez for his use of the jet, and the long-standing theory that the prime minister is somehow illegitimately in power for having originally taken office thanks to a vote of no confidence against the Popular Party’s former prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. 

On Friday, however, it was anti-evictions activists who unfurled their own banner on top of the Desokupa one.

“No rents, no mortgages, no debts,” the sign read. “Free, universal, quality housing, under the control of the workers,” it added. 

The activists are from an organisation called Madrid Housing Movement. As well as the large banner they also added two smaller signs that claimed there have been 468,549 evictions in Spain, that there are 28,522 homeless people and 3.8 million empty homes, while 80% of citizens’ salaries go to paying rent. 

The controversy was playing out on the day that the campaign for the 2023 general election, which will be held on July 23, officially got going.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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