Tens of thousands of Spaniards angry at ongoing hardship and corruption scandals demonstrated in cities across the country in what was described as a “citizens’ tide” of protests.
The date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of a failed coup attempt in 1981.
The protesters’ manifesto said they targeted the “coup of the financial markets” they largely blame for the crisis.
The government’s austerity cuts were inevitably very much in their sights.
“These measures can’t go on. They try to convince us it’s for everyone’s good but it’s the opposite. They’re burying us more and more every day; we’re never going to move forward like this,” said protester Arancha Mendez in Madrid.
The Madrid rally ended in clashes near a main railway station. Police ran after people who had set rubbish bins on fire. The authorities said a dozen arrests were made.
Spain’s protests have now become commonplace, with corruption allegations against the ruling party and the royal family merely compounding anger and frustration at austerity and economic gloom.