In Madrid crowds of Spanish demonstrators have maintained their protest camp in the central square for the sixth day running. Similar camps have been set up in cities all over the country. Despite a ban the protesters said they would refuse to go home.
One protester said: “I don’t imagine my future in Spain. I imagine it somewhere else because here it is too hard. And I would like to travel abroad, so I will keep studying but it won’t be in Spain, that’s for sure.”
The government looks unlikely to enforce the ban on the protest camps because they are peaceful and because attempting to remove them could provoke violence.
Miguel Murado, a political analyst said: “I think it is more of a political protest like that in the Arab world rather than what we see for example in Greece, where it is clearly about dissatisfaction with the government’s measures. The government passed austerity measures here but that was a year ago, so that is not the main reason.”
Commentators note that the Spanish electorate has put up with austerity measures and high unemployment for years. But it seems that now they have had enough. Local elections are to be held over the weekend and demonstrators are calling on voters to boycott both the ruling Socialist party and the opposition centre-right Popular Party.
The economic crisis has hit young people particularly hard in Spain where 45 percent of 18-25 year olds are unemployed.