The Spanish parliament has bowed to public pressure and agreed to debate a citizens’ motion that would protect indebted homeowners from eviction.
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards are behind on their mortgage payments due to the country’s debt crisis.
Outside parliament on Tuesday evening, protesters shouted: “It’s not eviction, it’s murder,” after several suicides were linked to families being forced out of their homes.
Parliament agreed to suspend foreclosures for two years in November, but the government has so far resisted permanent new legislation.
There were also angry scenes in the public gallery during the parliamentary vote, indicative of resentment towards current policy, which allows banks to repossess a home, while any remaining debt is still owed by the former owners.
An elderly couple living on the island of Mallorca became the latest suicide case on Tuesday. They received a final eviction notice hours before parliament’s partial u-turn.
Local media reported that the couple had been more than 84,000 euros in debt and left a suicide note explaining they were at a loss what to do.