Thousands protest in Barcelona against electricity price hike

United under the slogan “Stop the electricity scam”, thousands of people marched through Barcelona on Saturday, protesting against rises in the price of electricity.

Consumer prices in Spain are rising by the highest rate in almost 30 years, fueled by the soaring electricity costs on international markets, preliminary data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) show.

The institute said consumer prices rose 5.5% in October compared to the same month in 2020.

Despite drastic measures that have pitted the Spanish government against big electricity firms, regulatory changes so far have not contained the rising utility bills.

As well as the effect on individuals, businesses have felt the crunch and some have had to cut production or lay off workers.

Protesters claim the government and electricity companies are not doing enough to help.

“We also feel cheated, because, in the end, the problem is that the energy companies don’t feel empathy towards the citizens and we think that they are literally robbing us. Literally,” expressed 65-year-old protester Roque Martinez.

INE said that apart from the cost of electricity, increases in fuel and gas prices also fueled the monthly consumer price hike.

Spain’s consumer prices went up 4% in September compared to the same month in 2020.

“There should be control over the prices. We can’t allow basic services to be in the hands of capitalism. There should be more control from the government,” said Maria Bote, a 60-year-old teacher.

Saturday’s march was peaceful with large police numbers on hand to deter any potential disturbances.

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