Times are hard for many people, but at what point do they become so desperate as to justify criminal behaviour?
With Spanish unemployment knocking on 24 percent, there are now an estimated 1.7 million households with all their members unemployed.
This morning two quite disturbing incidents took place, organised by the Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores (SAT) , who simultaneously attacked two supermarkets, stealing trolley loads of food from one, which they then took to a soup kitchen feeding the disadvantaged.
The simultaneous attacks took place on the Mercadona supermarket in Écija (Sevilla) and the other in a Carrefour outlet in Arcos de la Frontera, in Cádiz.Just before Midday, members of the syndicates walked into the Mercadona in Sevilla and filled 10 supermarket trolleys with basic foodstuffs, including rice, sugar, pasta, milk, biscuits, and fruit and vegetables. Attempting to exit the supermarket without paying, they were confronted by supermarket security personnel, and an altercation took place, whilst the protestors loaded nine of the trolleys into the back of a lorry and drove off before police arrived.
In Cadíz, the actionists loaded 20 trolley loads of food, but the police arrived a lot quicker and they were prevented from leaving the store with the food.
Syndicate representatives said, " at this moment of crisis, when the town is being expropriated, we want to expropriate the expropriators, that is, landlords, banks and the big supermarkets who are earning money in the middle of an economic crisis. The town can't pay for broken plates when there are people who've got no food, "he said.
The Association has organised a march on 16 August to demand solutions and measures including an urgent employment plan.
Legal representatives of Mercadona have said that they will be denouncing the theft of nine trolley loads of food and for the injuries sustained by staff members during the struggle to prevent protesters leaving the supermarket.
Although militants are calling their action "a forced expropriation " representatives of the Mercadona supermarket chain said that they were fully aware of the "worrying" economic crisis and that the best way of sorting the problem was to continue growing and creating employment, which is what they had done the year before in Seville creating 300 jobs and a further 1200 within the whole of the Andalusia province.
Council seeks solution to scavenging in Girona
Meanwhile, El País has reported today that in the town of Girona, the town Hall has begun a unique programme to try and deal with the situation it is facing due to the numbers of disadvantaged people who have been raking through used food containers looking for food. The town hall say they want to, "stop this practice due to the health risk it implies and the social alarm which it provokes."
The town hall has undertaken two different actions:
One, to seal food containers which have been positioned to receive food waste and secondly to initiate a scheme by which supermarkets put food which has passed its sell by date, but which is still fit for human consumption in a location from which it can be taken by those who need it the most.
The council have padlocked shut the bins, and have arranged for personnel to speak to the estimated 90 people a day who go to the bins near the supermarkets, in the districts of Sant Narcís and Santa Eugénia to look for food, informing them that distribution is now being undertaken by a consorcio in which Cáritas and the Red Cross are participating, from a distribution centre.
The basic scheme for food distribution has been in operation for some time, and currently distributes 800 food parcels fortnightly, but the scheme has now been expanded to 1000 parcels to cover the additional needs anticipated.
However, opposition politicians have criticised the scheme, saying that only a small number of the supermarkets in the town are participating in the programme, and that unless the scheme is extended to incorporate all supermarkets and the frequency of the food distribution increased, that those most in need will either go hungry or seek alternative means of obtaining food." What are they trying to achieve, " Joan Olóriz, the councillor representing the ecosocialistas is quoted as saying, " that people don´t come back to scavenge at the containers, or that nobody goes hungry?"
The Town hall believe that all the local supermarkets will soon join in the scheme.
Image: The militants from SAT protesting on a previous occasion
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