Occupy Madrid

It’s never a good idea to make Spaniards angry. That’s exactly what their government did, and this was the result.

Capture

Protesting is high on the long list of things that Spain is good at. In the past 7 days, Madrid was subject to two very important displays of social activism, a student strike and an anti-austerity protest. Each had a different focus, but both are definitely worth talking about.

La Marcha de la Dignidad

On March 22nd, over 2.5 million people from all over Spain came together in Madrid to protest. Still recovering from financial crisis, the people of Spain aren’t happy at all with how the government has handled things. The details are complicated, which is my  way of saying that I understand little about social and political issues in Spain. Like the occupy movement back in 2011, La Marcha de la Dignidad was a way for several interest groups with different (but related) issues to unify their voices and make sure changes start happening.

La Huelga Estudiantil

Tuition is too damn high! Although that’s the biggest complaint, it’s not the only one. Students are also dissatisfied with reductions in financial aid and educational system reforms that they believe have done more harm than good. To make their voices heard, students all around Spain decided to go on strike from March 25th to the 27th. For a good part of the students, that meant skipping class to get together and protest. For others, that meant just staying home. As with any protests, there were a few violent people, vandals, and pyromaniacs sprinkled among the rowdy but otherwise innocuous students.

Aftermath

In both protests, police had to intervene in some instances. People got hurt, things got broken, and people got arrested. Luckily, this only happened in a few cases, and overall none of the protests escalated beyond control.

One thing I can guarantee is that people listened. I can vouch for the incredible solidarity and passion that echoed through the shouts of every single person marching down those streets. It’s no wonder that these protests were covered by media all around the world. There’s no doubt that government officials took notice, and now we can only hope that they will also take action.

Until next time,

Jonny K

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