28 Jul, 2023 @ 12:45
2 mins read

SAVE OUR TREES: Residents of central Madrid neighbourhood protest against the felling of thousands of trees in their streets 

HUNDREDS of residents are protesting every week against the felling of thousands of trees in a central Madrid neighbourhood. 

‘Metro si pero no asi’ (Yes to the metro but not like this), is the slogan of the residents’ association fighting against the ‘environmental disaster’ in the Arganzuela district, near Atocha.   

El Barrio no se Tala (Don’t cut down my Neighbourhood) is formed by hundreds of residents who organise weekly protests and activities to stop the destructive plans. 

“We were only four people when we started the group but now hundreds come every Thursday at 8pm and even over 1,000 people attended one of the demonstrations,” Ana Elez, co-founder of the social movement, told the Olive Press

Hundreds of residents protest every Thursday. Photo: El Barrio no se Tala

The spokeswoman, who has lived in the district since she was born 51 years ago, explains that Madrid Town Hall and Regional Government recently announced the go ahead of the project without having given any previous information. 

“They have been very sneaky as they did not inform anyone of the development and suddenly, we are being told all trees will be cut down and that a large part of the pavement will be closed for a number of years,” Jose Luis De Diego, a neighbour taking part in yesterday’s demonstration told the Olive Press.  

Even dogs have joined forces to fight against the environmental destruction of their neighbourhood. Photo: El Barrio no se Tala

The works for the extension of metro lane 11 are expected to last four years, which has also led to a dramatic situation for local businesses. 

Well-known Ancora Street is the worst affected one as every single one of its trees is to be felled. 

“Almost 200 trees are to be cut down and some of these are close to 100 years old. And it is not just about the huge environmental impact, but also about the fact that a number of businesses and bar terraces are being forced to shut down. I already know two local shops that are closing” Velez said. 

There is now a huge social movement fighting to stop the development. Photo: El Barrio no se Tala

She insisted: “We are not against the extension of the metro line, but we are fighting for authorities to submit a different plan. Ancora Street does not have a lot of traffic so they could just close one of the lanes for the trucks to undertake the works.”

After the protests, activities are organised for kids to take part. Photo: El Barrio no se Tala.

“This situation has brought the whole neighbourhood united and we will continue fighting and protesting until authorities present an alternative solution,” the spokeswoman concluded. 

They have also set up an online petition with almost 70,000 signatures to stop the felling of the trees that can be accessed on: https://www.change.org/p/salvemos-los-%C3%A1rboles-linea-11-de-metro-madrid


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