Protests against Spain’s economic crisis gained fresh momentum, as social networking fueled demonstrators to take to the streets of Puerto del Sol plaza, with the local elections just days away. The nature of this peaceful protest, echoes the pro – democracy rallies that has revolutionized Egypt.
The rallies have been instigated by the major economic crisis that has affected Spanish citizens, with the working-class being most affected. Spain’s unemployment level has reached a new eurozone high of 21.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, with a record 4.9. million people out of work. The rate has been the highest reported since 1997. Joblessness during the January-March period jumped 1% from 20.3% at the end of 2010, which has added extra pressure to Spain as it tries to recover from nearly two years of recession. Jobs have been lost across the entire Spanish economy, with services, manufacturing, agriculture and construction all taking hits. The report, which was released by the government in late April, shows the number of households in which everyone is unemployed has rose sharply from 58,000 to 1.4 million.
The protest itself, began on Sunday. On the first evening, police removed protestors, but just last night allowed them to stay overnight. The atmosphere is quite festive, with the mood being peaceful but also unified in their belief for a more democratic society. Songs, games and debating has enhanced the spirit of the protest. The protestors, themselves, are demanding jobs, better living standards and a fairer system of democracy. The rally activists have also set up citizen’s committees to handle communications, food, cleaning, protest actions and legal matters. The committees show a strong resemblance to Cairo rallies which eventually forced President Hosni Mubarak from power in February.
As economic conditions worsen (which they almost certainly will), similar actions will likely spread to all Western countries.