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EUROPE > ‘Robin Hood’ mayor begins march today

MADRID- Reuters

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A Spanish mayor who became a cult hero for staging robberies at supermarkets and giving stolen groceries to the poor sets off this week on a three-week march that could embarrass the government and energize anti-austerity campaigners.

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, named “Robin Hood”, regional lawmaker and mayor of the town of Marinaleda, said food stolen last week in the robberies went to families hit hardest by Spain’s economic crisis. Gordillo said he wants to draw attention to the human face of Spain’s economic mess, poverty levels have risen b y over 15 percent since 2007, a quarter of workers are jobless and tens of thousands have been evicted from their homes.

March aimed to persuade locals to refuse reforms

Today he begins his trek from Jodar, the town with Andalusia’s highest unemployment rate,
planning to march across the region in blistering summer heat to persuade other local leaders to refuse to comply with government reforms.

He plans to tell mayors to skip debt payments, stop layoffs, cease home evictions and ignore central government demands for budget cuts, a message that infuriates Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government as it tries to convince investors in Spanish bonds that he can fix the economy.

August/16/2012

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