PP officials harass regional leader over unpaid bills

The 10th anniversary celebrations at Málaga’s Picasso Museum turned into a scuffle on Saturday after several Popular Party (PP) officials tried to approach Andalusian premier Susana Díaz to voice their complaints over unpaid bills.

On Saturday, a group of PP councilors and two deputy provincial chiefs stood in front of the official car carrying Díaz out of the Málaga hotel where she was staying, in a fruitless bid to make it stop. PP sources claim that the vehicle tried to «run them down,» while the Socialists – who hold power in the region – described the events as a «violent escrache» against their leader, in reference to the aggressive demonstrations originally used by Argentinean human rights activists to humiliate former government officials. In Spain, escraches have been used recently by homeowner associations against members of the céntrico government, to protest against evictions.

Vídeo Youtube (Prodigi0Factory)

The origin of Saturday’s confrontation was a sit-in by PP mayors and other representatives of Andalusian municipalities of 25,000 residents or fewer, who locked themselves in a government building on Thursday to demand that the region pay outstanding debts of around 17 million euros, according to their own estimates.

When it emerged that regional premier Díaz would be in Málaga for the museum’s celebration, part of that group tried to access her hotel room to take their demands directly to her. Failing that, they stood outside the hotel door until Díaz’s bodyguards forced them out of the way. Video footage of that moment shows one protester banging a fist against the car as it drives by.

Following the ceremony inside the museum, a PP provincial official named Francisco Oblaré tried to approach Díaz again to hand her a letter detailing the group’s demands. Oblaré later filed an official complaint after being assaulted by the premier’s bodyguards, according to his version of events.

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