The changes to the locations of Orihuela’s two weekly markets are still meeting with opposition, and the Saturday traders staged their second protest yesterday against the plans to move them from Los Andenes to the old city centre.
At least thirty of the hundred or so regular stallholders at the Saturday market feel so strongly that they have informed the Mayor that they will withdraw from the market altogether unless their views are respected. They feel that councillor Manuel Gallud’s attitude concerning the plans has been unnecessarily intransigent and insensitive, and the lawyer representing them even claims that at an informal meeting St Gallud threatened to cancel the Saturday event: Aurelio José Ros describes this posture as both intolerant and unwilling to engage in dialogue.
The stallholders now hope that another formal meeting will be called in the near future to discuss the relocation of the market, which they describe as an “arbitrary” response to the requests of stallholders at the other weekly market, which is held on Tuesdays. Their own livelihoods have been threatened by the changes, they say, and on top of that the municipality is becoming the laughing stock of others nearby.
Sr Gallud claims that his decisions are based on reports which indicate that the changes in location will have a positive effect on both markets, but the traders doubt this assertion and have asked the Mayor to show them the evidence. This is because they maintain, among other things, that there simply isn’t enough room in the narrow streets of the historic city centre for their stalls, and the fact that they are to be relocated to the immediate surroundings of the Cathedral, which has been declared a monument of national importance, shows that the idea has just not been thought through properly.
As things stand at the moment, the market is due to move this Saturday, but many of the stallholders are refusing to put up their stalls in the new location and are opting to protest vociferously in the town centre instead.
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