News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Hundreds march in defence of the Pinar
By David Eade
Over 500 residents of the Campo de Gibraltar area and Gibraltar took to the streets of San Roque on Sunday to march in the defence of the Pinar del Rey. The 200-year-old woodland covering over 360 hectares is under threat from government proposals to run part of the future A7 dual carriageway through the southern corner of the area's vital green lung.
The demonstration was staged by Verdemar - Ecologistas en Acción who from the start have led the opposition to the road. For the first time all the political groups at San Roque town hall backed the protest which was strictly non-political.
The environmental impact report (DIA) produced by the Ministry of the Environment has proposed that the motorway would be carried over the southern corner on a viaduct over 300 metres long with just one support point. It would also have acoustic panels and plants surrounding it to lessen its environmental impact.
However Verdemar suggests the road should go further to the south so as to avoid the valuable water resources of La Alhaja. Ahead of the protest the Ministry of Public Works promised it would study the situation.
PP towns threaten to leave Mancomunidad
The statement comes after a left-wing coalition pushed the PP off the governing team
By Oliver McIntyre
The impacts of the Partido Popular-led overthrow of Benalmádena town hall appear to be spreading beyond local politics to the wider Costa panorama, as upheaval enveloped the Association of Western Costa del Sol Town Halls (Mancomunidad) last week.
The Mancomunidad is a voluntarily created entity formed more than 25 years ago by 11 towns on the western Costa in order to centralise the provision of certain basic services such as water, sewage, and rubbish collection among other things.
Last week the PP-led towns in the Mancomunidad - Benahavís, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Marbella and Torremolinos - stated that they may abandon the entity if an economic analysis confirms that doing so would not mean a financial burden for their citizens. One possibility is that they could set up a similar entity among themselves.
The move came after the left-leaning parties in the Mancomunidad (PSOE, IU, GSIO and ASM) banded together to push the PP off the governing team, stripping it of its vice-presidency and the three departments it headed up. The PP claims this political shutout was an act of "revenge" for the PP-led overthrow last week of the formerly PSOE-led town hall in Benalmádena. It says the socialists are seething over having lost three town halls in Málaga province (Gaucín, Alcaucín and Benalmádena) in the last eight months.
Officer sentenced to 18 months over death shooting
The shot was fired accidentally during a Guardia Civil stakeout
By David Eade
The Algeciras court has handed down an 18-month prison sentence for a Guardia Civil officer who accidently shot 21-year-old Miguel Clavijo Escarena as he was leaving Estación de Jimena in the cab of a lorry.
The tragedy happened on the afternoon of June 13, 2006, near km 23 on the A405 road. The officer was in the bushes beside the road watching out for a car that was carrying an alleged drug trafficker. He testified that he was checking out his gun, which he thought was unloaded, when it discharged the shot, which killed the youth instantly.
Both the victim and the Guardia Civil officer were from Estepona. Sr Clavijo had been lunching in Estación de Jimena with family members who operated a drilling company. As their lorry, driven by the youth's cousin, passed where the officer was concealed, the shot entered the cab and killed the victim before anybody realized what had happened.
A Costa del Sol News reporter passed the scene minutes after the tragedy and before the ambulance arrived. The first arrivals were a Guardia Civil patrol who rushed to assist the officer responsible for the shooting, who was desperately trying to revive the youth. Later that day his body was taken to Botafuegos in Algeciras for a post mortem. Extra local police were drafted in as outraged family members had already broken windows at the Guardia Civil HQ in Algeciras. An emotional funeral followed in Estepona. The officer, who was 32 at the time of the incident, is married with two children and was well known in Jimena, where he had served for four years. He is believed to have moved away from Estepona following the shooting tragedy.
In addition to the prison term, which probably will not have to be served as the officer has no previous convictions, he has been barred from possessing a weapon and ordered to pay 100,000 euros in damages to the family of the victim.