Thousands of people have taken to the streets in more than 50 Spanish cities to make a devastating verdict of two years of the Popular Party rule.
Citizens ‘tides’, public sector workers, unions and left parties have come together to “defend public services” , “defend the people” and to “change things.”
The bulk of the demonstrations were organised by the Social Summit, which brings together over one hundred organisations among which UGT, CCOO and USO trade unions. There will be more protests Sunday in Catalonia , Andalusia and Asturias.
The focus of anger was the government and its policies including the threat to public health, research, culture as well as record unemployment and job insecurity.
However, the European Commission also came under fire after it called on Friday for the Spanish Government to “intensify” neo-liberal reforms, particularly deregulation of the labour market.
“We will hold a protest without end in the event that the Government wants to give another twist to the cuts,” proclaimed Cayo Lara, General Coordinator of United Left. Madrid Socialist leader Tomás Gómez denounced cuts in the capital.
The march was led by Madrid’s cleaning workers, who achieved an agreement with employers after twelve days of strikes. The were followed in the marching order by teachers who have been battling massive cuts and regressive reforms, and health workers, who have been waging a long campaign against hospital privatisation in the capital.
Fresh from protests earlier this week, the general secretary of the Student Union, Ana Garcia, urged the education community to launch a new nationwide strike to deal ‘ final blow’ to education minister Jose Ignacio Wert and his ‘reform’ policies.
In response to new draconian draft legislation seeking to clamp down on protest Greenpeace activists taking part in a parallel demonstration scaled a building in the Plaza de España to unfurl a banner that declared “No to the Antiprotest Law.”