Demonstrators demand democracy ‘in practice’

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THOUSANDS of disaffected youths, under the 15-M name, continue to fill Spain’s squares protesting against the way bankers have ‘caused the recession’, and Fuengirola is no different. Around seven locals of mixed age-groups are determined to make their point by protesting in Fuengirola’s main square, overlooked by as many police officers.

The protest was arranged through a Facebook page called ‘Fuengirola Despierta’ (Fuengirola Wake-Up). This is linked to the ‘Democracia Ya’ – Democracy Now – movements that are erupting on a local, national and international scale.

“This is a non-political gathering,” explained Jason Serle, 36, who joined the demonstrators three days ago.

“Our aim is to establish a link between the central and regional governments and the town halls, and the laws that they make and enforce. We want the people to have a direct say in the legislations of their town. It would be easy to put our laws to a referendum.”

“Currently, we only get to vote for candidates who, once elected, do what they want. There is not even the obligation to fulfil the promises they made or any accountability when they fail in those promises,” he said.

“We are merely seeking a democracy in practice, not just in name.”

The demonstrators tried to place some of their signs in the square by the fountain, but police officers ordered them to be taken down.

Another demonstrator, Eric Mikhaelides, said: “The mayor of Fuengirola is very quick to stamp out demonstrations.”

Although Jesus Escalena Rios, 44, believes that “it is better that we have police presence; it means we attract more attention from the public.”

Jason’s father, 81-year-old John quoted John James Harris: “What defence does a society have against a government that controls the police and army?”

Meanwhile, a female police officer told EWN:  “They have the right to be here and to protest, but they are not allowed to put up posters.”

When asked why there were so many police officers when there were only a handful of protestors, she explained that “initially there were only a few officers, but I called in the others because I felt threatened by one of the demonstrators.”

The protestor in question had admitted to perhaps provoking the officers when he silently “gave them the finger”.

“When the other police arrived they formed a circle around me and one of them said that he would beat-me up when he was out of uniform,” said Gonzales Perez, 40.

“The police refused to identify themselves or show their identification numbers to me after they had taken down my details,” he added.

By Nicole Hallett


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