New protests in the Canaries: ‘This time we will take to the streets in tourist areas’

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 04-07-2024
  • National
  • Photo Credit: CW
New protests in the Canaries: ‘This time we will take to the streets in tourist areas’

The groups that organised the massive protests against the mass tourism model on 20th April, when more than 200,000 people took to the streets in the Canary Islands, in several cities in mainland Spain, and even overseas (Berlin and London), have once again called for a second “mass demonstration”.

The reason is that after the so-called 20A demonstrations, they claim “nothing has changed” and the development model based on mass tourism has got worse, not better.

“On April 20, the largest demonstration in the history of the Canary Islands took place. This would make us think that a few months later we would have at least seen a change of direction by the governments at the head of the archipelago's institutions, but nothing has changed. Quite the contrary: they have further deepened the developmental and predatory model of the territory that they have been perpetuating for decades,” explains the organisation Friends of Nature of Tenerife (ATAN).

“Far from responding to the more than 200,000 people who took to the streets demanding a change in the economic and social model for the islands, the island governments have not hesitated to systematically reject their demands of a tourism moratorium, measures to limit the purchase of housing by non-residents, an eco-tax, and the halting of projects that breach environmental and urban planning regulations, and they have done so both in parliamentary votes and in their public statements. They continue to see our natural spaces as places to exploit for tourism.”

“20A also does not seem to have had an impact on the draft laws, such as the one on Tourist Use of Housing, an unrealistic regulation that is very permissive in terms of the percentage of holiday homes that it allows, and that does not even provide for an inspection and sanction regime to enforce it,” they explained.

"They have also been unable to stop projects with clear irregularities such as Cuna del Alma, allowing disciplinary proceedings to expire and, in addition, favouring a scheme that allows it to continue."

The group added that: “despite having formally requested a negotiation table with the regional government, no response has yet been obtained. In the Canary Islands our public representatives continue to disregard and ignore the demands while they continue to celebrate the tourist records month after month.”

A protest in the heart of tourism

“To achieve the changes we are asking for, governments need to focus on the people, on nature and on the heritage of these islands, and not on continuing to do business at the expense of the territory, taking away people’s quality of life. Therefore, a single demonstration is not enough to achieve the profound change we need, we must be constant and show them again something that they seem to have forgotten: we are more than you.”

“For all these reasons, after discussions with groups from all over the Canary Islands and its diaspora, we have decided to take to the streets again. This time we will take to the streets in the very centre of this development model: in the main tourist areas.”

New protests in the Canaries: ‘This time we will take to the streets in tourist areas’

“We ask people to continue fighting from every corner of the islands against this unjust model that is destroying our lives and our territory. Let us once again set an example and recover what belongs to us, with strength and dignity: the Canary Islands have a limit, and it is still not respected.”

“To the Government of the Canary Islands, the island councils, the town halls, the tourist lobby, and other people and entities that benefit from the situation of the islands, we warn you of one thing: you will not silence us and our protests will only increase if immediate measures are not taken to stop the profound environmental and social deterioration that the Canary Islands are experiencing.”

The group concludes by adding: “Get to work for the common good, and understand that you cannot continue doing so unilaterally and turning your back on the people: we will be present in the design of the new model that these islands deserve, collectively and with real participation. There is no other way.”