Palma.— The clash began yesterday after protestors who have recently been camping out in Plaza España in Palma demanding social and democratic justice succeeded in preventing the eviction of a mother and daughter from their rented property in Calle La Ferreria in Palma.

The 38-year-old woman had apparently not paid rent for a year because she couldn't afford the 380 euro monthly rent as it exceeded her income. Her eviction has now been put on hold due to the intervention of the indignados.

The rebels had reportedly been alerted to the plight of the woman, an Argentinian, about a week ago and yesterday mobilised around 40 of their people outside the property in Calle La Ferreria, intending to prevent bailiffs entering the premises.

A National Police inspector who was called to the property shortly after the blockade was mounted, gave assurances that in view of the circumstances, the eviction “would not be carried out that day.” Manu Luna, spokesman for the Palma-based indignados justified his group's action by claiming that the forthcoming privatisation of the Balearic Housing Institute (Ibavi) - which had helped promote affordable accommodation, will mean that there are 5'000 such evictions in the offing.

However, the new Partido Popular Mayor of Palma, Mateu Isern was not impressed yesterday. He said that although he had great respect for the right of all people to voice freedom of expression, there were laws which everyone had to obey.

The decisions of the indignados, he said, will not affect his responsibility for upholding the law. “They do not have the right to tell us what to do, or what not to do,” said Isern.

The Mayor did nevertheless see fit to add on the subject that he would like to see a situation develop where those who could no longer afford their properties should be given the option of being able to hand over their keys, instantly relieving themselves of their debt.

More broadly, Isern laid some blame for evictions at the door of the lending banks, suggesting that they should better research their clients' ability or inability to pay before handing out sums on which interest was charged.