Domestic violence protest hunger-strikers fined for putting up rain shelter

SEVEN hunger-striking women in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square have been fined twice for setting up a tent to shelter from the rain as their protest runs into its 19th day.

Originally eight – but one of the group, Celia, was hospitalised on February 24 as the starvation had left her very weak – the women from the Ve-la-luz (‘see the light’) Association say they will not give up their demonstration until the government ‘puts its money where its mouth is’ and commits to enshrining its proposed anti-domestic violence procedures in national law.

After chilling figures showed that two women a week have been murdered by their current or former husbands or boyfriends – as many as in the whole of 2016 – the government has agreed urgent measures must be taken, but the association thinks things are moving too slowly.

Patricia, Marian, Susana, Martina, Gloria, Sara and Sonia have been hit with fines that could reach between €600 and €750 each for ‘violating planning legislation’ by ‘setting up infrastructure’ without a permit.

But the city council’s health and safety department says the fines can be appealed, and mayoress Manuela Carmena is fully backing the protest and cheering the women on.

She has ensured the council is keeping checks on their health as their fast continues.

The regional health authority has even set up an ad hoc commission purely to monitor their condition, and the ambulance service has visited them several times and given them blankets.

All eight women were given permission to stage their protest in the city-centre square – which has been ongoing since Thursday, February 9 – but this did not include setting up a tent if it rained.

As at this morning (Tuesday), only four women remained – Gloria, Martina, Susana and Sara.

Patricia, Marian and Sonia have been forced to drop out as their health is suffering badly through malnourishment.

Published Think Spain28 February 2017

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