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Canary Islands 'over-tourism' row hits boiling point as angry protesters storm new hotel

Furious activists stormed a hotel construction site in Tenerife, as tensions over mass tourism continue to rise.

The Canary Islands have become the centre of a protest movement that is calling for an end to the “madness” of “over-tourism”.

Earlier this week a group of protesters began a hunger strike over two new hotel developments.

Authorities had halted work on Hotel La Tejita and Cuna del Alma in Tenerife’s Puertito de Adeje over environmental breaches but construction has recently resumed.

Showing solidarity with the hunger strikers, 10 activists from the group “Salvar la Tejita” entered the construction site of the Hotel La Tejita at around 9.30am on Thursday.

The protesters positioned themselves in front of a mechanical digger and unfurled a banner with the slogan “This is our beach” written on it.

The slogan was a reference to similar mobilisations led by the artist Cesar Manrique on the island of Lanzarote in the 1980s.

Police briefly intervened but refrained from evicting the activists from the construction site.

The demonstrators say the Viqueira construction company has no permit to continue its work and is therefore operating illegally.

Alfonso Boullon, a spokesperson for the activists, told EFE media: “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“We call for a stop to this madness, this race to break the law, to destroy the environment and sell everything to the highest bidder.

“We call for compliance with the regulations that defend the territory, for the good of all.”

More protests are planned for Saturday across the Canary Islands, as well as in London by Spanish expats.

Canarias Se Agota (Canaries Sold Out) is holding demonstrations in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma under the banner “The Canaries have a limit”.

Canarias se exhausta (The Canary Islands are exhausted) is another key group behind plans for the islands-wide protests.

Ruben Zerpa, of Canaries Sold Out, told the i newspaper that locals wanted a more sustainable form of tourism.

He said: “Tenerife is a small island with limited resources. The roads are overwhelmed with traffic, there is a hydraulic emergency going on and hotels are full.”


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