Localised lockdowns in Madrid discriminate against poor, say protesters
BARCELONA (SPAIN) – Residents of working class neighbourhoods in Madrid facing lockdown to stem the surging number of virus infections took to the streets on Sunday, calling for enhanced health facilities and an end to discrimination.
The regional government of Madrid said on Friday that movement of people in six districts, home to around 850,000 people, will be restricted although residents will be allowed to go to work.
The lockdown measures mostly cover areas where immigrants and lower income category people reside. There were peaceful demonstrations in 12 of the 37 districts facing lockdown.
In Vallecas, which has one of the highest number of infections, 600 people took out a protest march.
“We want adequate measures to protect us in these working class areas. We don’t have medical centres. Many people do not have a work contract so they can go into quarantine in peace,” said Vanesa, a local resident who took part in the protest.
The demonstrators chanted that Vallecas is not a ghetto.
They also demanded the resignation of Madrid regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso who invited ire for saying this week, “the way of life of immigrants” was partly to blame for the rise in cases.
Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida said the curbs did not discriminate against the poor.
“There are no first class residents and second class residents. We have to be together at this moment,” he tweeted.
Madrid accounts for nearly a third of all infections in the country. Regional government authorities announced the curbs in areas where the infection levels exceed 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants.
As part of the curbs, access to parks and public areas will be restricted and gatherings will be capped at six and businesses have to close by 10 pm.
Authorities said policemen would be deployed to enforce lockdown.