Anti-tourism activists begin indefinite hunger strike in Tenerife

They are demanding a stop to the development of the La Tejita hotel and 'Cuna del Alma' projects and calling for the establishment of citizen assemblies to determine the future direction of the islands in matters of tourism.

On Thursday afternoon, nearly 200 individuals rallied in support of a group of activists who have initiated an indefinite hunger strike in Tenerife. Their primary demand is the immediate implementation of a moratorium on tourism throughout the Canary Islands.

Gathered outside the Church of La Concepción in La Laguna, the demonstrators are advocating for the cessation of construction on a hotel near La Tejita beach and the Cuna del Alma tourist development near Puertito de Adeje. Additionally, they are calling for the establishment of permanent citizens’ assemblies to determine the future development strategy for the archipelago.

The group publicly read a manifesto warning that the Canary Islands are nearing exhaustion, as is the patience of its citizens. They declared the demonstration on April 20 as a critical juncture to transition away from what they describe as a “suicidal and unsustainable” tourism model, marked by low wages, housing shortages, and environmental degradation.

The activists highlighted the apprehension now evident within the political class, facing a robust and relentless movement. They accused Fernando Clavijo, the president of the Canary Islands, of pretending to support the protest while actually promoting tourism development projects, such as obstructing the demolition of the RIU hotel in Fuerteventura and allocating €20 million to bolster tourism.

Anti-tourism activists begin indefinite hunger strike in Tenerife

The protesters contend that citizens are eager to engage in a genuine transformation, noting that the current political leadership is steering society toward disaster. While they reject the notion of ‘tourismphobia’, they admit to needing to educate tourists about the islands’ plight because politicians have rendered these issues invisible.

They characterized the hunger strike as a historic response to the politicians’ destructive policies and inaction, which have pushed both the land and its people to a breaking point. The manifesto concludes by denouncing an outdated, exploitative model and saluting the strikers’ bravery with the phrase, “We give our lives to stop death.”

Víctor Martín, spokesperson for the platform ‘Canarias se agotta’, expressed disappointment that the Canary Islands government has remained closed to negotiations following a ten-day ultimatum issued last week. He stated that the hunger strike would only cease if written assurances are provided that the projects at La Tejita and Puertito de Adeje will be stopped and an immediate moratorium will be enforced.

Anti-tourism activists begin indefinite hunger strike in Tenerife

Regarding these projects, Martín argued that the issue is one of political will rather than legality, highlighting that in the case of La Tejita, laws are being violated as construction has encroached on public maritime land, despite the Coastal Demarcation’s statement that there is no authorization for the works, which have nonetheless proceeded based on rulings from the TSJC.

Martín emphasized that the Canary Islands must halt their current trajectory amid an energy, climate, and water crisis. He advocated for pausing activities to thoughtfully define the future, insisting that any moratorium on tourism must involve extensive citizen participation and not just be confined to meetings of specialists and politicians.

The demonstrators formed a human chain in solidarity with the hunger strikers, chanting slogans such as “the Canary Islands are not for sale, they are to be loved and defended,” “you can’t eat concrete,” “capitalism thrives on tourism,” and “corrupt politicians out of the Canary Islands.”

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