May 19th, 2011
02:06 AM GMT
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Madrid, Spain (CNN) - Protests against Spain's economic crisis took a new turn Wednesday as social media networks fueled calls for demonstrators to take to the streets before local elections a few days away.

Thousands returned late Tuesday to Madrid's central Puerta del Sol plaza - where the main protests began Sunday.

A few hundred demonstrators camped out there overnight, while similar but smaller protests were held in Barcelona and other Spanish cities, a protest organizer said.

"The economy and unemployment are key to the protest because that binds all of us together," said Jon Aguirre Such, a spokesman for the Real Democracy Now, one of many groups convening the demonstrations.

"In this crisis, while some have gotten rich, most people have less income," Aguirre said.

Demonstrators are protesting Spain's 21% unemployment rate and a record 4.9 million jobless.

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Filed under: European Union


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Alejandro Gaita Ariño

    It is true that the economic crisis plays a role in the protests, but the background is mainly political, and so are the demands. The people want a democracy that deserves that name, i.e. a participatory or direct democracy. The politicians have earned the mistrust of the people, specially the ones in the two large parties (PP and PSOE), which many identify as being essentially equivalent, hence the denomination "PPSOE".
    In a few years, we will come out of the economic crisis one way or another. What the people demand is to be in charge of that process, as it should be in a real democracy. One of the main chants is: "Que no, que no, que no nos representan!" [No, no, no, they do not represent us!]

    May 19, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  2. magin

    As long as I know, part of the ideas are try Tahrihrs' spirit plus Iceland Revolution (or whatever happens on Iceland apart from Sportacus).

    May 20, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  3. Diego

    Spain is not a democracy. Among other things, for example, there is not separation of powers (legislative, executive and judiaciary), which is a must in the definition of the term democracy. Also, political parties are paid by the State (as well as the labor unions) and present closed lists of candidates on election's days.
    It is this lack of real democracy which creates frustration among Spanish people. We feel we have not political freedom. We can not control our politicians, who are professionals of politics. Politicians feel they are "inmune" to citizens criticism.
    This situation has created a huge gap between the "political world" and the Spanish society.
    Frustration has gone too far and finnally people have said ENOUGH!
    We want to attain political freedom. We want real democracy. We are the best educated generation in Spain's history. And we have a lot of time and energy to think (as we are all -43% of us- unnemployed!). We have organized ourselves and will not quit this movement until we have conquered REAL DEMOCRACY.
    This is the main reason why people is camping and discussing at Puerta del Sol, Madrid, and any other square -agoras- of the Spanish cities.

    May 20, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  4. Simon

    What amazes me is how the European governments are responding to riots and protests. By banning demonstrations, attacking people with riot police, using the usual police provocateur "anarchists", ignoring, stalling, bowing down to the EU and the IMF they`re confirming for all to see that there`s no democracy, no representation, no accountability and no decency. All the government of Greece is offering is to starve their people to death through IMF austerity while removing all the jobs, and still they have the gall to demand respect.
    I say direct democracy, separation of powers, cuts in politicians wages, removal of bureaucracies and a total ban on lobbyism on pain of death is what we need. And not just in Spain and Greece.

    May 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
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