Madrid declares ‘state of war’ on US real estate giant Citigroup

Written by Allyssia Alleyne, CNN Madrid, Spain Written by Allyssia Alleyne, CNN Spain, CNN As Pandemic Evictions Rise, Spaniards Declare ‘War’ on Wall Street Landlords

Madrid has declared a “state of war” on the US-based real estate giant Citigroup after squatters — many of them homeless residents — occupied a Citi’s branch there.

So far, more than 70 people have occupied Citigroup’s Madrid branch, turning it into a political platform to hold the bank responsible for evictions.

The move comes after 4,000 properties were taken over in Spain by evicted residents across the country last year.

As part of the protests, a two-day strike is planned for next week, called in solidarity with a postal worker who has been protesting his eviction.

Victor Hanade, the lawyer for the apartment squatters, said they had been suffering under what he termed the bank’s “racist eviction laws.”

“Up until today, we have not had a way to organize this movement,” he said. “We want to take this resistance to international political institutions.”

Madrid mayor Ignacio Gonzalez responded to the occupation with an open letter that accused Citigroup of contributing to thousands of homelessness in the city.

“At last it appears that we are at a point where you have formally declared the war that has been launched against this city and our City Hall,” he wrote.

It’s not the first time the bank has been publicly opposed by anti-eviction activists.

In November 2016, a group of residents occupied an office complex which included a branch of the bank in Barcelona.

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