I don’t follow mainstream broadcast news – did this story make the evening news Wednesday?
Spanish coal miners walked 400km across Spain from the Castile coal mining region, to the Spanish capitol in Madrid on Wednesday – to protest new austerity introduced by Spain’s centre-right, People’s Party (PP) government.
Today the miners continue their protest with a civil disobedience occupation of of Madrid’s Puerto Del Sol, the place where in October 2011 decisions were arrived at though consensus in general assembly, which lead to the birth of the North American Occupy Movement.
* * *
(A little history: The PP has been in charge of Spain’s austerity regime after beating the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in a Novemeber 2011 general election.
The PSOE’s electoral fortunes began to take a turn for the worse after they introduced Spain’s first – G20Toronto mandated – austerity budget in 2010. The democratic socialist’s first hit came after regional elections on May 22nd, 2011 with 28,000 ”Indignados” occupying Puerta Del Sol the result of a spontanious grass roots movement known as 15M (May 15th).
About a week after elections various police forces of several Spanish cities began to clear occupiers by force. An on-going cat-and-mouse game developed with occupy-ers occupying different Squares, then police clearing the square, and then an occupation of another square – all over Spain. This police crack down on dissent, and more austerity, and higher unemployment - resulted in a massive 500,000 strong Occupation of Puerta Del Sol which began October 15th 2011.
The result was another election trouncing for the democratic socialists, about a month later – this time in a general election. The centre-right PP gained the most from PSOE’s collapse – many observers noted a record number of spoiled ballots as an important factor in the PSOE’s demise. The PSOE suffered it’s worst showing in the modern democratic era (which begins at the end of the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco, 1975).
* * *
The coal miners three-week march against a proposed slashing of Federal Coal Subsidies began in the last week of June. As the procession neared Madrid people joined the march in their thousands – by the time the procession reached Puerta del Sol on Wednesday (11 July 2012) the rally had swelled to 10′s of thousands of people. On the same day as the mners arrived in Madrid, Spain’s Prime Minister announced another round of austerity cuts to services - with new taxes – helped swell the crowd appreciably.
The Guardian’s Giles Tremlett reports from Madrid,
“A tense standoff saw occasional police charges, rubber bullets, and demonstrators hurling objects at police. At least 76 people were injured in clashes along Madrid’s central Castellana Boulevard, but the march eventually ended with nothing more violent than a rousing singsong.”
(from “Spanish coal miners bring message of defiance to Madrid” – link below)
Some real beautiful moments in the video below (Reuters, published at the Guardian), of men letting themselves show ‘feminine emotions’; coal miners from small mining towns and urban Indignados hugging and crying.
Spanish miners’ anti-austerity protest reaches Madrid – Guardian.co.uk
Once again, The Indignados rock!