Thousands of protesters were out in force as night fell in Madrid, the latest demonstration underlining anger at the new austerity measures announced by the Spanish government.
In a spontaneous gesture many showed they were prepared to stay the night on the streets – sleeping rough – as their way was barred in front of the Spanish parliament. There were no clashes with police.
The protesters many of whom were called together through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook raised their hands in mockery of a robbery; “Hold your hands up this is a theft,” they chanted.
They had gathered since the afternoon, angry at reforms which will include wage cuts and job reductions for civil servants and which are the deepest cuts in 30 years. The march stopped outside the headquarters of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party.
“Spain is in a difficult situation, but the solution will not only come from the civil servants. Everyone has to help. Fiscal amnesty for those who stole money and for me, they lowered my salary three times already!” said one participant, a fireman.
Spain’s two largest unions have pledged widespread action in September to protest against the measures which aim to save 65 billion euros, though they have stopped short of saying if that action will be in the form of a general strike.