Spanish activists and local housing groups have rallied in front of the headquarters of the private equity firm Blackstone Group in New York City to protest its expanding role in the global housing market. Following the global financial crisis, Blackstone has been at the forefront of Wall Street’s housing takeover, becoming the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the United States. Spanish activists are seeking to halt Blackstone’s purchase of the bulk of mortgages from the Spanish bank CatalunyaCaixa, which received a bailout with public funds. They say the sale would paralyze attempts by hundreds of families to negotiate better conditions and avoid eviction. At the end of the protest, the image of a giant vulture and the words “Stop Displacement” and “Blackstone – vulture” were projected onto the front of Blackstone’s Midtown headquarters. Victor Casanova, from Marea Granate New York, said the fight against Blackstone is global.
Victor Casanova: “We think this is a global fight. The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages is doing a lot of work to stop evictions in Spain. There are other organization that are doing similar things in the U.S. And what we want is to bring the protest here. This is the place where decisions that are affecting thousands of families are being taken, and we want to tell the people that are leaving their work right now that we are not allowing these things to happen.”