Protesters in Madrid, Spain. May 15 2011
Citizens of Spain Demands! Written By: Sean Lin May 16 2011 (MADRID, Spain) – Since the beginning of the ongoing economic crisis, Spain has been hit hard with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, reaching a record of 21.3%. The number of unemployed people in Spain reached 4,910,200 at the end of March 2011, while youth unemployment rate stands at 43.5%, the highest in the European Union. Therefore On January 2011, the digital platform Democracia real YA was created on Spanish social networks and forums. Using Twitter and Facebook it called "the unemployed, poorly paid, the subcontractors, the precarious, young people..." to take the streets on 15 May. On 15 May 2011 thousands of people, mainly young, demonstrated all over the Spanish state under the slogans “real democracy now”.
During the 15 May protest, tens of thousands had been involved in camps and mass assemblies. The core activists tend to be university or ex-university students, often unemployed or underemployed. 15-M demands for “real democracy”. Real democracy does not just mean the end of corruption and privilege but the ability of ordinary people to control their representatives and to contribute in the daily running of the society. The population is outraged by legislative politics used to make the weakest sectors of society pay for the crisis. In the last few years, a sense of disbelief continues to grow on how the big banks received millions in bail-outs, while the government continues to increase social cutbacks, take away basic rights and the people’s welfare. A website was built for the 15 May Movement, The purpose of the website is to be a place where people can post and comment on what they are thinking and feeling about the current Spanish society. The blog allows anyone to express their opinions. The website presented a Manifesto written by the “Democracia Real YA!”. It states “It’s time to change things, time to build a better society together.” “I am outraged. I think I can change it. I think I can help. I know that together we can.I think I can help. I know that together we can.” Even though the protesters are not supporting what the government is doing, the economy is still improving because of it. An article published in Kyero, informs the viewers the improvement and growth in Spain’s gross domestic products since the economic crisis. Below is an interview with one of the protesters, Abelardo: Interviewer: How has the government failed it’s people? Protester: The government is not providing us with “Real Democracy”. We are unemployed, low paid, fragile and young people who wants a change and a brighter future. The government is not giving us enough ability as ordinary people to control our representatives or to contribute in the daily running
of the society. The government is also giving big banks millions in bailouts, while they continues to increase our social cutbacks, take away our basic rights and the our welfare. Interviewer: How are people reacting to this government failures? Protester: We demand that there will democracy now. We “Democracia Real YA!” is a organization that consists of unemployed, low paid, fragile and young people. That is why, we want to help coordinate citizen movements in order to help change current situation and they stand for peace and social justice. Interviewer: What are the aims of the protest? Protester: From this long term protest, we hope to fulfill our demand of more democracy, a new electoral law and end to political corruption as well as other claims, such as banks nationalization. Overall, we tell that the Spanish citizens demands more democracy and does not support what the government is doing. However, the economy is also improving because of what the government are doing. ––––––––––––––––––––––––– Sean Lin is the Associated Press Corespondent for Spain