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Recortes de Prensa

PUMA 22 Vows to Continue with Demonstration

Round Town News, 03 | 12 | 2009 - Noticia

Protesters campaigning for the reinstatement of free health care have vowed to go ahead with next week’s demonstration, despite consular claims that they had agreed to call it off. The PUMA22 group has rallied thousands of disgruntled residents to join the march next Thursday, December 10th, in Alicante. Protesters will march to the British Consulate to deliver a letter to the new Ambassador, Mr Giles Paxman

Meanwhile, group founder member Mr Bill Bridges has written a letter of complaint to the British Embassy and to Mr Chris Bryant, MP and Foreign Office Minister. The complaint follows a statement made to local press which had not been discussed at a meeting of PUMA 22 members with officials from the Embassy and representatives from the Valencian Health Authority.

Proviso

Martin Fitches from the Madrid Consulate General issued a separate statement to local press, saying an agreement had been reached with PUMA22, provided the group called off its planned demonstration next week. The statement said: ‘Anyone who cannot afford the new scheme has the opportunity to obtain means tested free health care benefits and for those people who don’t qualify and still cannot afford those payments, the Valencian Authority has very kindly agreed to look at these cases on an individual basis. This agreement to look at all individual cases has been made on the proviso that that no further demonstrations or protests be made.’ Mr Bridges said that no such statement had been made by the Valencian representatives at the meeting, and no such agreement had been undertaken by PUMA22 representatives.

Hardship

“At no time during the meeting of November 24th was any threat, hint or statement made by the representatives from Valencia that the Valencian Authority’s agreement that they would look at all individual hardship cases was made under the proviso that no further demonstrations or protests be made by PUMA22,” said Mr Bridges. Free health care for early retirees in the Valencia region was withdrawn at the end of October, with people who want to continue receiving health care invited to join a private scheme costing 270€ per quarter, with the fees rising to 330€ per quarter after retirement. Visit www.puma22.org for more details on next week’s protest.

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