Protest Planned in London as Canary Islands Anti-Tourism Activists Make Their Way for Demonstration

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun15,2024

Campaigners planning to take to the streets in the Canary Islands this Saturday in anti-mass tourism protests will be joined by supporters in London.

Spanish expats living in the UK capital are mobilising for a protest event at the London Eye. The protest is due to start at midday, the same time campaigners demanding a more sustainable model of tourism will take to the streets in islands like Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

The idea of a London protest first started being raised online just under a week ago.

A message on Instagram site Canariosenuk, which translates into English as Canarians in the UK, said: “We are organising an act in London in support of the demonstrations on April 20. There’s quite a few of us now and we are organising everything in a Telegram group.”

A subsequent message, saying the event was open to everyone who wanted to show their support, said: “Canarians in London, if you can’t go to the islands for the 20A event, I urge you to join ours. I think that especially in London we can make a good impact, and make our message and our voices be heard without intermediaries, without sensationalism and without tourism-phobia.”

One sympathiser responded, referring to an ‘indefinite’ hunger strike which six activists began in La Laguna in northern Tenerife last Thursday ahead of this Saturday’s protests, by writing: “We should take to the streets to support the hunger strike which began on April 11.

“Every day and every hour counts to avoid irreversible damage to their health and unbearable human losses. Stop making excuses, it’s time to remain on the streets indefinitely.”

As well as London, events are also being planned in several Spanish mainland cities including Granada, Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid, as well as Berlin.

Protests in the Canary Islands of La Gomera and El Hierro scheduled for Saturday mean demonstrations will take place across the Atlantic Ocean archipelago alongside those already announced in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma.

Campaigners have been quick to distance themselves from anti-tourist graffiti which appeared on walls and benches in and around Palm Mar in southern Tenerife at the start of the month.

A picture was published in local press yesterday showing the words ‘Go Home’ on a hire car in Tenerife.

Protest groups including Canarias Se Agota, which in English translates literally as ‘The Canary Islands are Exhausted’, are demanding the authorities to halt two tourist projects, one of which involves the construction of a five-star hotel by one of Tenerife’s last unspoiled beaches. Hunger strikers protesting mass tourism in Tenerife are demanding a commitment from regional politicians to change the tourist model and protect islands like Brit-popular Tenerife from the worst excesses of mass tourism.

The six hunger strikers have gone without food for nearly five full days and are camped outside a church in La Laguna.

Victor Martin, a spokesman for Canarias Se Agota, said: “The hunger strike is indefinite and will continue until the two macro projects we’re fighting against are stopped for ever and the regional agreement agrees in writing to sit down and talk to us about a tourist moratorium. A tragedy could occur and someone could die if the government don’t listen.”

Saturday’s march in Tenerife will take place in the island capital Santa Cruz under the slogan ‘The Canary Islands have a limit.

A protest planned at the same time in Malaga is being billed with the slogan: ‘Malaga with the Canary Islands. Andalucia also has a limit.’

An activist leading a noisy protest at the start of the hunger strike in La Laguna, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spoke about the April 20 protests: “The miserable wages, the lack of housing, overpopulation, the deterioration of natural spaces and the collapse of the roads are some of the things that have led the Canarian population to demonstrate later this month.

“Our political leaders are beginning to tremble because of this grass-roots Canarian movement which is powerful and unstoppable.”

She said the islands’ political leaders had two choices – to carry on taking them “towards the precipice” or listen to the alternatives that had been on the table for decades instead of trying to blacken the name of campaigners by accusing them of “tourism-phobia”.

She received a huge round of applause as she added to a crowd standing around her: “We have had to climb up cranes because our political leaders have made us invisible. And today on April 11 we have had to resort to stopping eating and putting our lives at risk.”

One of the protestors listening beside her held up a map showing the eight inhabited Canary Islands with a message on it in Spanish saying: “When one cries, we all cry.”

Canary Islands regional president Fernando Clavijo initially admitted he was worried tourists might be put off coming to the area, before softening his message last week and describing the April 20 protests as an opportunity to “revise” the current tourism model. Jorge Marichal, president of the regional hotel association ASHOTEL, has raised concerns about tourists calling up hotels to inquire if it’s safe to travel.

He’s also pointed out that ‘non-regulated’ holiday rentals are a significant issue, leading to less control over tourist numbers in destinations like Tenerife.

Graffiti messages in English, found on walls and benches around Palm Mar in southern Tenerife, include stark statements such as ‘My misery your paradise’ and ‘Average salary in Canary Islands is 1,200 euros. ‘.

In what seems to be a retort from UK visitors, graffiti next to a ‘Tourists go home’ message reads: “F##k off, we pay your wages.”

Meanwhile, the protest group Canarias Se Agota has distanced itself from the recent spate of anti-tourist graffiti, accusing local politicians of unfairly tagging them with tourism-phobia in a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Protest Planned in London as Canary Islands Anti-Tourism Activists Make Their Way for Demonstration”
  1. Do you think the London protest will have the same impact as the demonstrations in the Canary Islands? It’s interesting to see this activism spreading to different locations.

    1. Yes, I believe the London protest can have a significant impact, especially when it comes to raising awareness on a global scale. It’s inspiring to see activism spreading to different cities, uniting voices against unsustainable tourism practices. The solidarity shown across locations empowers the movement and amplifies the message for a more sustainable future.

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