Tens of thousands of people turned out in Madrid on Saturday for the latest show of strength for Podemos, the new left-wing party that in just a year has come from nowhere to threaten to change the face of Spanish politics.
It was the biggest demonstration yet of the mass support that has propelled it to the top of the opinion polls ahead of this year’s local, regional and national elections.
“Today we have the dream of a better country, but we haven´t filled this square to keep dreaming. We are here to make our dream come true in 2015. Dreams have to be pushed and this year we are going to fight to make political change arrive. This year we are starting on something new. This is the year of change. And this year we are going to beat the Popular Party in the elections,” said its university lecturer leader Pablo Iglesias.
One in four workers is unemployed, and while after a seven-year recession signs of improvement are showing, jobs remain hard to come by.
“We must join the Greeks and the rest of southern Europe, those fighting the Troika and Merkel, because capitalism is over and we can’t go on like this,” said one man.
“I think this is going to have big repercussions because over a year ago this was unimaginable, Podemos was only created just over a year ago,” said a female supporter.
Podemos has made hay by slamming Spain’s politicians as a “caste”, detached from people’s reality, and more concerned with their own interests. It is a message that is hitting home.