Demonstrators flooded the the Orihuela Costa in public protests over the weekend, calling for the construction of a footbridge and pavement along the stretch of road cross the AP7 motorway linking Lomas de Cabo Roig with the Pharmacia, Medical Centre and other facilities and services in Cabo Roig itself.
In the most ambitious show of strength yet, over 600 people representing many nationalities, walked along the route in what was largely a festive atmosphere.
Led by members of the Association of Residents of Lomas de Cabo Roig (AVCRL), and the Federation of Associations of Orihuela Costa (FAOC), a large banner read in German, Spanish and English ‘For pavements on the AP7 Bridge’ and while many protesters chanted slogans such as “Bascuñana, the bridge is for today and not for tomorrow”, “We are fed up with your excuses, we do not want to die “, many others held banners stating ” We want a pavement now”,” Cars and pedestrians, do not mix.”
Several of the protesters were in wheelchairs and electric buggies holding messages of their own saying “How do you expect me to get to the Medical Centre or the Pharmacia.”
They accuse the mayor and his government of having a total lack of concern for the safety of pedestrians and drivers, especially those people who take their children in pushchairs or those who travel in wheelchairs or electric buggies.
Before the march got underway, the President of the neighborhood association, Carlos González, a resident of Lomas de Cabo Roig and the spokesman of FAOC, Tomás Moreno, addressed the protesters in Spanish, English and German, to expand on the reasons for the march.
They were supported by three councillors from Orihuela, who the organisers thanked for their participation, Sofía Álvarez who is currently the councillor for Tourism, Víctor Ruiz of the PSOE and Karlos Bernabé of Cambiemos. Also in attendance were CLARO leaders, Román Jiménez, Bob Houliston and Paul Piccio.
On Sunday morning, although much smaller in number, an equally determined group of protesters gathered at the site of the Emergency centre in La Zenia calling for its completion as a matter of urgency.
They too carried placards and slogans in Spanish, German and English saying “Still no emergency centre”, “Emergency centre WHEN”?
The third public demonstration was held on Monday evening at the site of the children’s play area in C/Nicholás de Bussi, Playa Flamenca, where local residents called the action in removing the memorial to murdered Norwegian teenager, Shila Bigdely, in 2004, as disrespectful.
The memorial was removed a month ago by the deputy mayor, Juan Ignacio López-Bas, who ordered it to be replaced by an Olive tree. Residents say that there was no public consultation and they feel let down by the fact that they were not informed.
So over a weekend where the rest of the world was celebrating Easter, on the Orihuela Costa residents were conveying their message to the municipal government that they will no longer be ignored. One protester said “The Orihuela government must now listen to the voice of the people on the coast. They can no longer ignore our wishes and they must start attending to our problems with greater urgency and effectiveness. There will be new municipal elections in 12 months’ time and they will pay the penalty if we see no improvement because now, the people of the Orihuela Costa are working together”.