Spanish police arrest activists for shop 'heist'

August 10, 2012 - 3:38 PM

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police have arrested seven left-wing union activists for their alleged role in a "Robin Hood"-style looting of a supermarket made to highlight the plight of people suffering through the country's recession.

A handful of activists from the southern Andalusian Workers' Union made off with nine trolleys full of food from the supermarket in the southern town of Ecija and left without paying on Tuesday. They later gave the food to poor, unemployed people.

The mayor of the nearby town of Marinaleda, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, has admitted taking part in the heist, the latest in a string of controversial initiatives he has undertaken since taking office in 1979.

Sanchez Gordillo has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm cooperatives his office has established for the jobless.

Police said one person was arrested during an eviction Friday of union members who were squatting on Defense Ministry land near Ecija that is lying fallow to demand it be given to hard-pressed farmers.

Four others were arrested elsewhere Friday, and two Thursday, although all but two have been released on bail pending legal action.