Monday, 20 June 2011

15-M movement shows strength in mass marches

SPAIN (El Pais/Agencies) Tens of thousands of people marching from different parts of Madrid converged on Neptune square, near Congress, to protest the way politicians are handling the economic crisis. Despite the heat, around 40,000 Spaniards (according to a measurement taken by Lynce for Efe news agency at 2.20pm) marched peacefully, chanting slogans such as "We're not paying for your crisis" and "They call it democracy but it's not." The massive demonstration was proof of the undying spirit of 15-M, the grassroots movement that began as a protest against political mismanagement of the economic crisis on May 15, and later gave way to prolonged sit-ins in squares across the country, most notably in Madrid and Barcelona. When those camps were dismantled a week ago, some wondered if the movement would fizzle out. Instead, new marches are being scheduled to depart for Madrid from different cities on Monday.>>>

The immediate goal of Sunday's demonstration was to protest against the Pact for the Euro, involving fiscal reinforcement through a new set of reforms, including cuts to wages, pensions and social benefits. "Another brutal cut is on the way," said Luis Fernández, a member of Adesorg, an association for the unemployed. "This is where you see the power of banking over countries. They've sold the country; it no longer belongs to Spaniards, but to the European banks."

Yesterday's rallies, particularly those in the big cities, which are announced in the social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook or Tuenti), called for a general strik. Today's headlines reflected the call in almost all the newspapers throughout the country. It remains to be seen what happens, but it would be no surprise if it was heard in union quarters...

There were marches or protests almost everywhere in the country, including, locally, such a small village as Jimena de la Frontera. The movement has been taken up in France, Italy, Portugal, and, of course, Greece, among other countries.

'Officially' called by its rallying cry ¡Democracia real YA! (Real Democracy NOW!), it also goes by other names in the media, which prefers 15-M for its shortness, referring to the date the movement was 'born': May 15.

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