A ban on the mass protests by Spain’s youth ahead of Sunday’s local elections has created a major headache for authorities.
The electoral board has ruled gatherings in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square and in other town and cities around the country will be illegal as from tomorrow – technically a day of reflection.
But many protesters – who have been camping out since last Sunday – have vowed to defy the ban, aware that politicians will not want to send in the police to force them out on the eve of a vote.
Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero says he understands the reasons behind the demonstrations and that the Justice Ministry is currently reviewing the ban.
“I want you to know that we and other veteran colleagues are well aware that all improvements needed and all the support young people need, especially on employment, are achieved by working and voting,” he said.
The ruling Socialist party is expected to suffer heavy losses on Sunday as anger over their handling of the economic slump and introduction of austerity measures grows.
The young are particularly hard hit – unemployment among 18-25-year-olds is at 45 per cent.