Thousands of peaceful protesters took the streets of Madrid in an unpredictable demonstration where different columns from major city districts marched towards the parliament. Madrid was the first of over 60 march rallies that took place on Sunday all over Spain (and other European cities, like Paris). Following with the spirit of the earlier demonstration of May the 15th, the march was organized and developed aside from any political party or labor unions. This rally strengthens the rise of a grass-root civil society that reclaims a genuine democracy, has taken dozens of squares and seems increasingly decided to stop corruption and the dominance of market policies.
With world’s third richest bank controlled by a Spanish family and an overall increase of 35% on the income and salaries of top businessmen in the country, Spain suffers an unemployment rate of over 20%, with
45% of young unemployment. The so called Socialist party in power refuses to cut the financial privileges of the wealthy classes while over 500.000 families have been evicted for mortgage arrears since 2007. The financial crisis has served as a excuse to legitimize an unsustainable situation for Spanish citizens who decided on May the 15th to reclaim the street shouting “you don’t represent us” to the main political parties.
Since then a sort of multicolored grass-root social experiment has rise unstoppable all around the country turning into an internationally inspirational #spanishrevolution. What mainstream media called “los indignados” (the indignant ones, the outraged) took central city squares all over the country and have become a sort of massive direct democracy experience for the last 4 weeks (http://tomalaplaza.net). Popular squatting of squares have recently started to move forward into new forms of organization and protest. Only in the region of Madrid over 150 district and neighborhood assemblies have started to meet every Saturday to organize a local and global coordination of the emergent movement (see http://madrid.tomalosbarrios.net).
Todays was not a regular demonstration. No political party or labor union called for the march. In fact there was no single march but a myriad of marches from local neighborhoods joining together at Paseo del Prado; a few meters away from Spanish Parliament. The area was heavily protected by an extensive police force that has remained surprisingly peaceful (given the violent police charges that took place during the eviction of Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona resulting in over 120 wounded protesters).
Without central organizers or driving speakers, the people had a chance today to synchronize their demands. Popular slogans claimed: “We will not pay your financial crisis”, “Social peace is over”, “Violence is a 600€ monthly pay” (Spanish minimun wage) or “They call it democracy but it’s not” “Europe for the people, NO to the Pact for the Euro” (referring to a new European level law that will include severe restrictions to labor rights and a collection of welfare cuts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_Plus_Pact). Banners where also condensing the social discontent with slogans such as: “Democracy in the streets, violence in the parliament”, others in solidarity with parallel movements in Greece and Syria (to mention but a few) and claiming against evictions for mortgage foreclosures. This is probably
one of the most supported issues among the different campaigns developed by the 15M Movement, which counts on specific on-the-spot organizations to stop the mortgage foreclosures by means of civil disobedience.
For many, this is a decisive step forward towards a global revolution that quickly spreads over around Europe and the World.