Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Europe

Thousands take to the streets to protest over unemployment

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH , Josh Vardey

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-21

Thousands of Spaniards have defied a ban on protests before elections and taken to street across the country to voice their disquiet over spiraling unemployment and the country’s strict austerity measures.

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.

Our economic situation 'a disgrace' say young overqualified, underemployed Spaniards

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.''

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 : 2011-05-21

  • SPAIN

    Demonstrators defy weekend protest ban

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    Economic crisis fuels Spain protests

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    Zapatero will not seek a third term

    Read more

COMMENT(S)