The municipal election campaign stops for a day in honour of Lorca earthquake victims
Two earthquakes of 5.1 and 4.5 Richter degrees hit the Murcia Region (South-East Spain) on Wednesday afternoon causing at least 9 deaths and injuring 300 people. 30,000 people spent the night in the streets, fearing further shocks. All the Catalan parties suspended their electoral campaigning for 24 hours and a minute’s silence spread across Catalonia.
Barcelona (ACN).- The two week election campaign stopped this Thursday in honour of the victims of yesterday\u2019s earthquakes in the Murcian city of Lorca, in South-East Spain. Catalonia showed its condolences with public demonstrations in front of the Catalan Parliament, the Catalan Government\u2019s palace and many town halls across the country. In addition, all the main Catalan parties suspended their electoral campaigning for the municipal elections, scheduled for May 22nd. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU), the People\u2019s Party (PP), the Catalan Green Socialist Party \u2018Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds\u2019 (ICV-EUiA), the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party \u2018Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya\u2019 (ERC) and the Anti-Catalan Nationalism and Populist \u2018Ciudadanos\u2019 (C\u2019s) decided to halt all the campaign activities this Thursday in honour of the earthquakes\u2019 victims.
A first earthquake of 4.5 Richter degrees occurred at 17h05 and a second one of 5.1 at 18h47, causing at least 9 deaths and injuring around 300 people, three of which are in a critic condition. 80% of the city houses have some kind of damage and 10% of them have structural damage. Fearing new earthquakes, 30,000 people slept in the streets in improvised camps. Blankets, sleeping bags, plastic chairs, and some improvised tents could be seen along Lorca squares and parks. Lorca is receiving support from the Red Cross and the army, as well as from all parts of Spain. The Emergency Military Unit deployed 420 soldiers, who set up several camps for more than 3,000 people and are cleaning up rubble. In addition, a field hospital has been set by the army, with more than 50 health professionals, surgery facilities and 6 intensive care beds.
PSOE and PP stopped the campaign in the entire Spain
Spain\u2019s two main parties, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the People\u2019s Party (PP), decided on Wednesday night to suspend the electoral campaign in the whole of Spain on Thursday. Convergència i Unió joined the initiative the same evening. The rest of the Catalan parties (ERC, ICV-EUiA, and C\u2019s) also took this step. And all the campaign activities were put on halt in Catalonia. In Spain, the last time an electoral campaign was suspended was after Al Qaeda\u2019s attacks in Madrid trains on March 11th 2004, which caused 191 deaths.
A minute of silence across Catalonia
The main public institutions in Catalonia took part in a minute of silence. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, showed his respects to the victims at noon at the Plaça Sant Jaume, the square where the Catalan Government\u2019s palace and Barcelona\u2019s City Hall are. He was joined by the Catalan Vice President, leaders of the main political parties, and the candidates to Barcelona\u2019s City Council, including the incumbent Mayor, Jordi Hereu. In addition, the President of the Catalan Parliament, the Bureau and many MPs congregated for a minute of silence in front of the Parliament building, in Barcelona\u2019s Ciutadella Park. The scene was repeated across Catalonia in front of many town halls.