22 Apr, 2024 @ 17:47
2 mins read

Anti-tourism protester is hospitalised in Spain after enduring 12 days of hunger strike on the Canary Islands – as ‘desperate’ fellow activists vow to continue despite their deteriorating health

A PROTESTER has been hospitalised after enduring 12 days of a hunger strike on the Canary Islands.

In footage shared online, the unnamed individual can be seen being placed into the back of an ambulance in Tenerife.

Sharing a picture of the moment, supporter Roberto Mesa wrote on Instagram: “The health of one of the hunger strikers has deteriorated and he required urgent medical attention.

“The state of health of the participant in the strike, which has been going for 12 days, has considerably worsened in the last hours.”

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: What’s really behind the anti-tourism graffiti in Spain? Locals in Tenerife give their verdict

Hunger striker is taken away from treatment in Tenerife (Instagram/Robert Mesa)

He added that an ambulance attended the scene before taking the man away to a hospital for treatment.

The hunger strike is specifically against two luxury complexes being built in south Tenerife, which campaigners say are illegal.

It is also a part of a wider movement calling for a drastic change to the tourism model.

The hunger strikers told media today that they will continue their action despite their sugar levels and other vital signs being dangerously low, as they are ‘desperate’ for change.

More than 60,000 people took the streets across the Canary Islands on Saturday as part of a historic march calling for change in the industry.

The protestors are calling for a series of measures to be put in place to alleviate the issues being faced by the residents of the islands, which are located off the northwest of Africa.

They include limits on the purchase of properties by foreign buyers in order to combat the shortage of accommodation for locals, an environmental tax, and a freeze on tourist numbers. 

One of the focal points of this growing movement against the effects of tourism has been the island of Tenerife, which saw the biggest turnout of demonstrators. 

The slogan of the protests was ‘The Canaries have a limit’, and they were backed by a series of environmental groups including Greenpeace, Ecologists in Action, the WWF, and SEO/Birdlife, among others. 

Protests against tourism in the Canary Islands
Credit: X (Twitter), Willy Veleta

Protestors also came out on the streets of Madrid to join the demonstrations. Hundreds of people gathered in the central Puerta del Sol, carrying placards with slogans such as ‘The Canaries will resist’, and ‘The Canaries are saying enough of tourism’. 

One of the groups helping to organise today’s actions is Canarias se Agota (The Canaries Have Had Enough). 

Eleven members of that group have been on the hunger strike in Tenerife, to protest against the building of two large luxury projects in the south of the island. The group describes the constructions as ‘illegal’ and unnecessary. 

According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), 13.9 million people visited the archipelago last year. The islands have a permanent population of just 2.2 million. 

Tourism accounts for 35% of the islands’ GDP. But despite these figures, 34% of residents in the Canaries are living at risk of poverty or of social exclusion, according to the INE. 

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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