Madrid manages what London didn’t

// 21 May 2011

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Puerta del Sol sit in.jpg

25,000 protesters are currently occupying Puerta del Sol, the capital’s main square (sound familiar?), having defied the midnight deadline in Spanish law which prohibits political rallies the day before elections. Local elections are set for tomorrow.

According to the BBC, the sit-in started six days ago “as a spontaneous sit-in by young Spaniards frustrated at 45% youth unemployment.” Al Jazeera informs us that some of these young people have been dubbed ‘”los indignados” – “the indignant”. Not bad at all, that one.

The crowd has been steadily growing, and similar demonstrations are being staged in other cities around the country. The BBC claims “such a spontanious display of protest was unlike anything seen in Spain before.”

Voice of America reports that many of the protestors “say they’ve been inspired by similar protests across the Arab world.”

Why is this sustained mass sit-in happening in Spain and Madrid, but didn’t in London despite the ‘Arab Spring’, Rahila Gupta’s call to action , over 250,000 people< /a> coming out for the 26 March protests, and the attempt to start a weekly 24 hour occupation of Trafalgar Square after the protests? The last one was May Day weekend from what I can find – does anyone have more information?

Photo of tents and people from Puerta del Sol sit-in on 19 May 2011 by fotographer, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Mary Tracy // Posted 21 May 2011 at 4:25 pm

This makes me so ridiculously happy I can hardly contain myself.

(Also, well done BBC for that typo. Once again a Spanish lady knows her English better than the great BBC.)

As for your questions, zohra, I can’t really say. Undoubtedly the Spanish have it worse than the British. Perhaps it’s because nobody expected this level of betrayal from the “socialist” party. Much like people in this country didn’t expect the Labour party to declare war against Irak.

Perhaps Spanish people feel they have more in common with the Egyptians?

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