2011-06-19 #Spain responds to the call, masses take the streets against the Euro-Pact #19J #europeanrevolution

As the protests around Spain come to an end, the signs of weakness shown by the 15M movement over the past weeks - the frustration against the slow assemblies, the possibility of violence inside of the pacifist ideals (violence in Barcelona http://www.europeanrevolution.net/?p=539) or the lifting of the camps - have been forgotten after the massive protest carried out in over 30 cities nationwide. According to the techno ant map (here ) the protest happened in 98 cities internationally. The number of protesters is, as always, hard to know for certain. The main media source in Spain, El Pais, claims that around 200,000 people participated in the major protests, making the number probably higher.

In Barcelona a whopping 100,000 people marched according to most sources. It was larger than in Madrid where 35,000 to 50,000 people participated in the event. Some say, however, that over 100,000 were present throughout the day. It is truly hard to tell. Six columns initiated the protest marching towards Congress from different neighborhoods around Madrid.

Madrid today:

Map of the protests:

The farthest starting points marched as early as 9:00 am. The plan was that local assemblies would arrange for each neighborhood to join in as the mass of people advanced towards the center, making the protest larger and larger.

Video of the Northern column:

At around 01:00 pm most of them arrived at the statue of Poseidon, inside a large turnabout just below Congress, which was heavily guarded by riot police.

The protest, as all of them in Spain, was a perfect example of the peaceful identity of the movement: not a single violent incident was reported in the whole country. On the contrary, it was a truly festive and enthusiastic experience, with independent groups organizing thematic pieces of theater, picnics, costumes and creative signs. At around 15:00 an orchestra played a part of Beethoven's 9th Symphony and, ironically, the official hymn for the European Union. They said that they wished to remind the meaning of the hymn´s choral lyrics, that sing to fraternity between all mankind:

Afterward, the people enjoyed a picnic in the shade of the old trees along the Paseo del Prado. Various activities were planned for the evening: lectures on interesting subjects and assemblies dedicated to specific issues were held in anticipation for the large assembly that took place at 20:00 in Sol square, where the results from the different task forces would be presented.

Photostream here: http://yfrog.com/h834ollj

Although most of the participants were young, there were some very old people who marched for hours under the sun, to the point where some of them had to be attended by the medical staff because of the heat.

Once everyone had reached the finish line, the huge agglomeration chanted its usual themes, demanding real participation in important decision making, the contrary of the way the EU is handling the Euro-pact. The secretive way in which such an important set of issues is being carried out, similar to the ways politicians in Spain are deciding on budget cuts, pension freezing, or dealing with seats in regional parliaments, strikes the movement as “undemocratic” or just plainly “illegitimate”. The people taking the streets want to have a say about such key issues, things that affect their future in such a way that it seems unreasonable that they are not being asked if they agree or not. If the system is truly representative, then why isn´t wage reduction in the public sector a matter of active debate, when millions of lives are being directly affected?

A plurality of issues were addressed by the thousands of signs that popped up from amongst the heads, all of them, however, expressing the basic discomfort that they are being cheated of their rights by leaders that have very evidently turned their backs on them. To put this into context: today, traditional left-wing party Izquierda Unida agreed to support right-wing Partido Popular in their claim to the regional Parliament in Extremadura (the south-eastern region of Spain), betraying all their voters. This is just another example in a long list of recent cases in Spanish politics.

The way to prevent this is still unclear and many different suggestions are starting to take shape. All of them feel that direct pressure is the way to go. It is very important to be seen. To make the message reach audiences around the world, it is necessary to take the streets and demand an answer.

If anyone's interested,

If anyone's interested, here's my translation of various demands they have made so far on the website for DEMOCRACIA REAL YA!(as reached by some kind of consensus I'm guessing?):

DEMANDS: Mandatory disclosure of the assets of public officials. Reducing politicians salaries towards the average Spanish salary.

Shortened work weeks (and no increase to retirement age) until unemployment falls below 5%, combined with tax benefits and penalties to encourage stable, full-time employment over the use of temporary contracts.

Nationalization of new housing that hasn't been able to be sold to be turned into rent-controlled public housing for the poor and working young people. Government mediation in the renegotiation of mortgages for those behind on payments.

Return to previous subsidies on public transport, combined with restricting car traffic in city centers and added bike lanes.

More health and education workers to reduce wait times / overcrowding to previous lower levels.

NO more bailouts. Banks in difficulty can either go bankrupt or be nationalized to serve as public utilities for national development. All bailout money to be returned to the state.

Raising tax on financial institutions proportional to the social costs of the crisis generated by their mismanagement.

Ban on investing in offshore tax havens. Best practice regulations against speculation and for transparenct.

Higher taxes on large fortunes and harsh penalties for tax evasion.

A "Tobin Tax" on speculative/quick international currency flows.

End to persecution of copyright violations on the internet.

Obligatory referendums for any political changes that could greatly affect the well-being of citizens.

Steep reductions in military spending.

All in all, SOUNDS GREAT.

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