Palma.—The nationwide debate and protests against evictions have been raging for nearly a year now, but they have recently gathered fresh momentum after nearly a dozen people, facing losing their homes, have committed suicide over the past six months in Spain, forcing the government to take action.

And yesterday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Town Hall in Calvia to pay tribute to the retired couple Pedro Servera and Jovita Alzamora who, facing eviction with debts of 65'000 euros apparently run up by acting as guarantors for their daughter, committed suicide on Tuesday. They also demonstrated against the government for dragging its feet in dealing with the issue of evictions which is confronting more and more people across the country as the recession continues and unemployment nears six million, nearly 100'000 of those here in the Balearics.

Tragically, the death of the couple early on Tuesday after came just hours before members of parliament in Madrid agreed to debate a citizens' motion to protect poor homeowners from eviction.

The lower house of parliament agreed to debate the bill after lawmakers of the ruling conservative Partido Popular threw their weight behind it despite earlier resistance, the party's parliamentary spokesman Alfonso Alonso said.

In response to popular protests and the suicides, the government in November passed a two-year moratorium on evictions -- but campaigners insist that it go further.

The bill proposes to change the law to end evictions and to allow insolvent homeowners to write off their debts by surrendering their home.
Under the current law, a bank can pursue a mortgage holder for the remaining balance of a loan if the value of the seized property is not sufficient.
The new bill was brought to parliament by PAH, a popular campaign for housing rights that gathered 1.4 million signatures on a petition demanding that it be debated by lawmakers. “People who undergo eviction not only lose their homes but get saddled with a large part of the debt, condemned for life to be excluded from credit,” the petition read.

A police spokesman has confirmed that the couple in Cas Catala “left a suicide note” saying they committed suicide because they could not pay their debts and were soon going to be evicted.

They were found by one of their two children. PAH says hundreds of thousands of people face eviction in the crisis brought on by the collapse of Spain's housing market in 2008. The resulting economic crisis has left many people unable to pay mortgages on houses that are often now worth much less than purchased. The PAH has campaigned by turning up in crowds outside the homes of evictees and sitting on their doorsteps to try to stop police and bailiffs from carrying out the eviction orders.

And, in some cases, including here in Majorca, they have been successful.
This Saturday at 6pm PAH Majorca has organised a mass protest in Plaza España.