Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Europe

Demonstrators defy weekend protest ban

©

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT , FRANCE 2

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-21

Despite a decision by Spain's electoral oversight body to ban public protests as voters head to the polls this weekend, tens of thousands of demonstrators continued to express their indignation over a deepening economic crisis.

AP - Tens of thousands of people are defying a pre-election ban on demonstrations and protesting unemployment in squares around Spain in defiance of an order to quit at midnight.

The government avoided saying if it would order police to break up the crowds on Saturday, but at the stroke of midnight officers kept a discreet presence on the edges of the demonstrations.
 
Demonstrators kept quiet as city clocks chimed the beginning of a new day, many with sticky tape over their mouths in a gesture organizers said suggested they have things to say but were being gagged by the ban.
 
People are angry over Spain’s high unemployment rate and what they see as the national political parties’ ineptitude in dealing with a deep economic crisis. Protesters built a camp in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square Sunday, a week ahead of nationwide elections. Since then good-natured, peaceful and colorful gatherings have sprung up and grown around the country under the banner of “Real Democracy Now.”
 
Our economic situation 'a disgrace' say young overqualified, underemployed Spaniards
Many protesters have said they were influenced by recent pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East and one popular chant is “Join us.”
 
Friday was the last day for candidates to campaign for the election for municipal and regional government positions in much of the country. Citing the mandatory end of campaigning, the national election commission banned protests Saturday and on Sunday, voting day.
 
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero did not say whether he would order police to break up demonstrations.
 
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was also cagey about how the government would deal with the protesters, although he said the police would not act to make things worse.
 
Initially he said the government will “enforce the law,” but he then toned down this stance, saying “The police are not going to resolve one problem by creating another.”
 
The ruling Socialist party is widely expected to suffer big losses at the polls, perhaps even in traditional strongholds, having been forced by the crisis to introduce austerity measures.
 
“They want to leave us without public health and public education. Half of our youth is unemployed and they have raised the age of retirement,” said protester Natividad Garcia, who declined to give her age and profession.
 
The government is presiding over an economy struggling to overcome recession and create jobs to chip away at a 21.3 percent jobless rate, the highest in the eurozone.
 
In Spain, rallies called to urge people to vote one way or another are typically banned the day before an election, called “days of reflection.”
 
The election commission was deeply divided this time, and upheld the ban by just a one-vote margin. The panel was convened to give a blanket ruling for all of Spain because provincial election bodies had issued contradictory rulings, with some allowing protests this week and some banning them, as was the case in Madrid.
 
Organizers of the protests say that they have no party affiliation, are not trying to affect the election outcome in any way, and are not even urging people to abstain from voting.
 
“Campaign posters are still going to be up, so why ban people from freely mingling to exchange ideas,” said graphic designer Antonio Quiroga, 27.
 

 

Date created : 2011-05-20

  • SPAIN

    Economic crisis fuels Spain protests

    Read more

  • ON THE OBSERVERS

    Spurred by Twitter, Spanish 'revolution' sets up camp in Madrid

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    Spanish downgrade revives euro debt fears

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)