Friday, 20 May 2011

Spain in revolution: What's it all about?

If you've been glancing at our daily Today's Headlines feature, you will have seen frequent mention of the 15-M Movement, which also goes by the name of Democracia real ya (Real Democracy Now), No los voten (Don't Vote For Them) and other such names. After a peaceful demonstration on May 15 in over 50 cities around Spain with thousands of people on the streets, the 'Spanish revolution' continues. Camping at major city squares such as those at Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, among many others, was planned and continue today until this weekend. The headlines today say that the Electoral Junta has forbidden protests on the day before local elections, which is known as dia de reflexión, a day of reflection or thought before going to the booths. This YouTube video goes some way to explaining what this movement is about, with Spanish subtitles. As it was explained to us this morning>
the Junta Electoral is a judge or a group of judges -depending on where and the population- charged with overseeing the strict rules that apply to electioneering. Among other things, they make sure there is fairness in terms of broadcasting and propaganda in general,and lots of other election details, plus, of course, the stringent rules about the Day of Reflection, during which any kind of party political activity beyond the confines of local headquarters, is absolutely forbidden.

The debate on this subject, though, centres on whether the 15-M demonstrations are party political activities. Given that one of the names it goes by is Don't Vote for Them it would appear that the Electoral Juntas of Madrid and Barcelona, and anywhere else they are camped out in the square, could easily construe that there is an electoral element to the protests.

Meanwhile, the organizers, if it can be said there are such people, deny any party political affiliations, although they do complain that various parties have been tryinmg to gain any kind of ideological hold on the movement.

Some media have reported that there is some resemblance to the disturbances across the North of Africa and in Syria, inasmuch as the protesters gathered through the social media (Facebook, Twitter and Tuenti) at the beginning and now communicate through them at all times. To quote one protester: "They can control the police but they can't control the Internet."

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