November 29th, 2011 | Global Times Chinese shopkeepers protest in Madrid
Hundreds of Chinese shopkeepers demonstrated in Madrid on Monday to demand licences to sell beer and wine, in their first ever public protest in Spain.
Some 200 demonstrators marched to the door of Madrid town hall with a stack of application papers for the so-called “second licences” that let grocers sell alcohol.
They said the licences were crucial to their economic survival but were being denied to them by local officials.
“It is hurting our business a lot. I want the same rights as Spaniards,” said Pedro Zhang, head of a Chinese retailers’ association.
He said Chinese shopkeepers were being systematically denied the licences at the discretion of municipal officials and were fined 30,000 to 600,000 euros (up to $800,000) for unauthorized selling.
“Why are they letting other convenience stores and all-night stores sell (alcohol) but not us?” he asked.
Chinese run large numbers of businesses in and around the Spanish capital but have usually kept a low profile.
Demonstrators held banners reading “I pay my taxes, I want a second licence” and “Help us to integrate.”