Spanish Indignados a Force in Global Movement
Millions turn out for Spain's Occupy protests and inspire others abroad
Members of the Indignados movement clash with police on Oct. 12, during a protest against the government in the center of Rome. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Occupy Wall Street and its U.S. offshoots pale in size compared to their Spanish cousin, which may be taking a leading role in an increasingly globalized and coordinated movement.
In Spain, the Occupy protests are known by the nickname 15M, for the date the started, May 15 and as the “Indignados” for those that populate it.
On Oct. 15, these indignant Spaniards spurred a coordinated global protest that spanned 90 countries and 1,000 cities. In Spain, several hundred thousand people participated, supporting the view that the Indignados have become an inspiration and coordinating force for actions beyond Spain's borders.
Spanish public broadcaster RTVE estimated that between 6.5 million and 8 million Spaniards have participated in protests during 2011, and according to polls, 80 percent of the Spaniards support the Indignados' cause, EU Observer reported.
Recently, a group of Spanish Indignados arrived in Brussels, the EU capital, after they walked there from Spain in a trek that took 80 days. They hoped to bring their case to top EU officials. In a YouTube clip, one of the marchers said, "I speak five languages and I'm a physicist, and I'm unemployed." The labor market in Spain looks grim—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Spain had an overall unemployment rate of 21.2 percent in August 2011, and during the year various sources have put youth unemployment at about twice that figure. Meanwhile, the Spanish government, like most European governments, has had to introduce various austerity measures to deal with its economic problems.
The Spanish grass-roots citizen organization Democracia Real Ya (DRY), which means "real democracy now" has played an especially important role, focusing on demanding an end to austerity measures and a new approach to democracy. Among other things, they have suggested a whole new European Constitution, created in a way similar to how the new Icelandic Constitution is being written, with the help of crowd-sourcing, bringing in suggestions from the people via social media. The Epoch Times conducted an email interview with Miguel, a Spanish DRY spokesperson who preferred not to give his last name.