After a further five members of the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT) were arrested on Friday for taking part in the supermarket raids coordinated two days earlier by Marinaleda mayor Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo,
he told reporters he was willing to give up the immunity conferred on him as an elected member of the Andalusian Parliament for the United Left (IU, Izquierda Unida) party. “I don’t mind going to jail”, he said.
The IU hierarchy in Andalucia had sought to distance itself from Gordillo’s rabble-rousing campaign, after one former IU leader, Gaspar Llamazares, initially came out in support of it. The IU formed a coalition government with the Socialist Party after the Partido Popular won the most seats in the March 25th regional election – a move strongly condemned by the controversial mayor. Junta de Andalucia premier, José Antonio Griñán, condemned the supermarket raids as “barbarism”.
An unrepentant Gordillo, who has been in office for 33 years since he was first elected, told a national newspaper there would be more raids, commenting that “If my party – and it says so in its manifesto – is anti-capitalist, it shouldn’t have a problem”.
Gordillo went on: “What is really barbaric is that in Andalusia there are 1.25 million unemployed, 34 per cent of the active population is unemployed, three million people live below the poverty line and, according to the latest report by the Catholic charity Cáritas, there are 350,000 families living on food aid.” He added: “I think what is really serious are the ERE case (Andalusian government corruption scandal), where we are talking about €1.7 billion; the Gürtel scandal (government corruption in Valencia and Madrid); the scandal involving the king’s son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin; plus there are €100 billion in the underground economy, and our famous sportsmen don’t pay taxes because they have all their money in tax havens.”
Gordilla was speaking at the disused military base on the Las Turquillas estate in Osuna, Seville, which had been occupied by SAT members for the 18 days before 100 police and Guardia Civil moved in to break up a makeshift camp early on Sunday morning. Gordillo, who had previously said the occupation was a “symbolic” gesture to draw attention to the plight of day labourers in Andalusia, said his group would leave the area “peacefully.” SAT spokesman Diego Cañamero said the union wants the disused base to be put up for public auction so it can be bought by a farmers’ collective in the area.