An activist movement in Spain has turned its attention to blocking evictions, according to news reports.
Dubbed the "indignados" (Spanish for "indignant ones"), tens of thousands of protesters camped out in town squares in May to object to the government’s spending cuts and a 21 percent unemployment rate — the highest in the European Union. Since then, the protesters have turned their focus to preventing evictions of unemployed people who cannot afford their mortgage payments.
They organize using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and gather in crowds outside of homes to prevent officials from delivering court orders for eviction.
Last week, about 200 activists helped an unemployed woman and her two adult children, one unemployed and the other disabled, avoid eviction. According to Reuters, the protesters have helped stave off evictions "in dozens of cases."
In contrast to the U.S. and other European Union countries, banks in Spain may foreclose on a home and still collect on a certain percentage of the mortgage debt. One activist organization, the Madrid Mortgage Victims’ Forum, is asking the law be changed so that the debt is cleared upon foreclosure, in addition to other demands.