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Spain's anti-evictions lobby wins EU prize

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A man belonging to the PAH anti-evictions lobby protests against home evictions regime in Barcelona. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
16:46 CEST+02:00
Spain's controversial anti-evictions lobby, the PAH, has been awarded a key citizenship prize by the European Parliament.

The PAH received a European Citizens' prize for its work in "fighting for European values," Spanish media reported on Thursday.

The group, headed by Barcelona activist Ada Colau, defends people in Spain who are facing forced evictions from their homes because of an ability to meet their mortgage payments.

The candidature of the PAH was put forward by two Greens Eurodeputies in  Raül Romeva and Ana Miranda and by the United Left (IU) Eurodeputy Willy Meyer.  
 
The European Parliament said the PAH  has been selected among 41 candidates from 21 European countries.

The jury for the prize was made up of the Vice Presidents of the European Union Anni Podimata and Othmar Karasel and by the Ex-presidents of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering and Enrique Barón Crespo.

Also on the jury was the President of the European Youth Forum Peter Matjasic.

According to the Parliament, the prize will be handed over in a ceremony in Brussels in October.

The awarding of the prize may surprise some in Spain as the tactics of the PAH have raised controversy in this country.

Most controversially, the PAH have made use of so-called "escraches". These escraches involve the direct targeting of politicians' homes and offices to put greater pressure on them to change policies. 

In Spain, the protests have seen demonstators placing stickers on the doors of ruling Popular Party (PP) politicians or chanting slogans outside their offices.

"We don’t like to carry out escraches but they've left us with no other choice,” PAH lawyer Manuel San Pastor told The Local in April.
 
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly called the escraches "undemocratic" while the the Secretary-General of the ruling Popular Party María Dolores de Cospedal labelled "escraches" as “pure Nazism”.
 
The PAH rose to prominence in January this year when Colau the head of the lobby condemned Spain's banking community in the country's Parliament.

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