Protestors smeared with black paint demonstrated Saturday against plans for petrol firm Repsol to drill for oil off the Canary Islands, which they say threaten tourism and wildlife.
More than 1,000 protestors of all ages, including environmental activists and local officials, massed outside the national government offices on the island of Tenerife in the early evening.
Other demonstrations were planned on the six other main islands and in Barcelona, as well as in Madrid where about 100 young demonstrators with black handprints on their faces protested outside the national environment ministry at midday.
"No tar on our beaches!" the Madrid protestors yelled. "No to petroleum, yes to renewables!"
Activists and the local government say Madrid's approval for Spanish firm Repsol to explore for oil off the Atlantic archipelago, one of the regions that make up Spain, threatens its vital tourism industry and rare marine life.
"The business is only going to benefit a multinational company" and will bring "absolutely no benefit" for the islands themselves, said a spokeswoman for the Madrid protestors, Noelia Sanchez.
"It affects the industry we live off, which is tourism, and is going to have disastrous social consequences," she added. "It is also going to mean disaster for the biodiversity of the islands."
It must first submit an environmental impact report to the government.
The regional government of the Canaries, Spain's second most popular tourism destination after Catalonia, has mounted a legal challenge against the project.
Greenpeace warned: "Deepwater operations are inherently dangerous and pose enormous risks of spills, fires and pollution as demonstrated by the collapse of the BP platform in the Gulf of Mexico less than two years ago."
Source: AFP Global Edition