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'Robin Hood' mayor in new protest

The mayor of a small Spanish town who admitted taking part in Robin Hood-style looting of supermarkets today joined a protest march calling for more government aid for the unemployed.

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, mayor of Marinaleda, said the protesting farm workers want aid for what he said were 350,000 families in the Andalusia region, in which no one has work or gets unemployment benefits.

He told reporters he also wants authorities to halt evictions of families who cannot pay their mortgages.

More protest marches are scheduled to take place in Andalusia's eight provinces.

Today's left from Jodar, a town with a jobless rate of more than 40%. Nationwide it is nearly 25%.

Last week Spanish police arrested seven left-wing union activists for their alleged role in the looting.

A handful of activists from the southern Andalusian Workers' Union made off with nine trolleys full of food from the supermarket in the southern town of Ecija and left without paying. They later gave the food to poor, unemployed people.

Mr Sanchez Gordillo admitted taking part in the heist, the latest in a string of controversial initiatives he has undertaken since taking office in 1979.

He has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm co-operatives his office has established for the jobless.

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