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article imageProtest in Barakaldo, Spain over suicide of evicted woman

By Anne Sewell     Nov 10, 2012 in World
Bilbao - 53-year-old Amaia Egaña was to be evicted from her home in Barakaldo, Bilbao, Spain. Rather than face homelessness, she jumped to her death from her balcony.
Egaña jumped from her fourth floor balcony just as the bailiffs prepared to evict her, after she failed to keep her mortgage payments up to date. This is the second suicide in less than three weeks over impending evictions.
According to the organizers, 8,000 people took to the street on Friday in Barakaldo, a suburb of Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain. Chants and banners stated condemnation of the suicide of Egaña and protested any further foreclosures. Demonstrators shouted slogans such as ''No eviction unanswered,'' ''Banker, remember – we have rope'', "it is not a suicide, it's a homicide," and "we must stop financial terrorism".
Organizers of the Stop Eviction march have called for immediate action by Madrid to end foreclosures and they blamed the suicide on Spain's economic hardship. According to estimates, more than 400,000 families have lost their homes since the start of the financial crisis in Spain.
Protesters against the suicide of Amaia Egaña due to eviction.
Protesters against the suicide of Amaia Egaña due to eviction.
Video screen capture
Immediately following the tragedy, a Barakaldo judge, Juan Carlos Mediavilla said that it is "necessary to amend current mortgage legislation" to prevent the recurrence of such events.
On Thursday this week, the EU Court of Justice criticized the mortgage law in Spain, which governs evictions, and called for a halt to the repossession of property. The court states that the legislation is incompatible with European consumer protection standards. In Spain, not only can someone be evicted for non-payment of their mortgage, but they also remain liable to repay whatever value is left on the mortgage after the repossession.
Two similar events have occurred recently including 53-year-old José Miguel Domingo, who was found dead in Granada on October 25, immediately after bailiffs appeared on his doorstep. The following day yet another 53-year-old jumped from his apartment window ahead of an eviction in Burjassot, but survived the fall.
Spanish news agency, EFE reports that on Monday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will be meeting with the opposition PSOE party in an effort to halt evictions.
The PSOE hope to introduce a new law where evictions would be halted if a family only owns one home. "We ask the government and banks to halt all housing evictions until we have a new law," Socialist Elena Valenciano said.
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