Nobody expects the Spanish revolution: photos from "Real Democracy" protests in Spain

300559476.jpg Photo by @acampadasol (web), who has been photographing the protests in in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square, where some ten thousand demonstrators have gathered to demand jobs, economic equality, and "real democracy." The demonstrations throughout Spain, ahead of the country's upcoming elections, have been compared to various popular uprisings in the Middle East. Global Voices, CBS, AP, Periodismo Humano. Spain's El Pais newspaper, as one might expect, has extensive coverage (photos, video). US-based and English-language outlets, not so much yet.

Below, video shot of thousands of protesters in Madrid today by "eloyente" for

The demonstrations were not limited to Madrid. Below: 17,000 en Sevilla, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from Antonio Rull's photostream.


(Photos via Jose Luis de Vicente)


      1. Entonces contacts con la gent de nolesvotes y democraciarealya y les haras un gran favor con la traducción :-D

      2. ¿ANON, Podrías publicar AQUÍ la traducción en ruso del manifiesto? yo se lo hago llegar a la comisión de traducción. Sería de gran ayuda. ¡Gracias!

  1. I’m disappointed that I can’t click on the tag in that guy’s sign and see other pictures with the same tag.

  2. LONDON Wednesday 18th May, Sloane Sq walk to the Spanish Embassy as a protest against this dodgy politicians, the rip off by the banks, the abuse of power and the corruption. For REAL DEMOCRACY NOW…. #spanishrevolution
    Come with us, join us, show up!

  3. Hi there, I’m the video’s author. Thanks so much for the mention! Just one little petition: may you mention me as @juanlusanchez (linking to twitter), instead of “el oyente”… it’s a long story. Thanks! So proud of being quoted at Boing Boing!

    1. it is in english because:
      1- its a joke from one of the best, and more critic comedians: The Monty Pyton. The original joke goes: “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

      2- because we want this to go WorldWide! Becacuse we all, the common people around the world have the same problems, caused by an unfair and untenble system.
      It doesnt matter what political power we elect, because what really rules the world is the economical stablisment over the people and the politicans elected (or not) by the people.

      We all need to change that.

  4. #8 Anon, it’s a punch about the Monty Python sketch ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’.

    1. The budget had surpluses up to 2008, and they didn’t prevent the present situation. The causes of the specially bad economic situation in Spain are far from just a need for a “balanced budget”. The productive system in Spain is wanting of a drastic overhaul.

    2. There were a few people in London, pathetic compared to the real mass of people suffering under 30-40 years of flat earth neo-liberal economics.

      What we need is a Job Guarantee for all at decent living minimum wage and sovereign Modern Money Theory (MMT) for public purposes, that is full employment.

  5. The entire UK news sector is failing hard, right now — not even a word from BBC, Guardian, Times or Independent.

    1. thats whats diferent nowadays, we have social networks.
      Common press is part of the problem, cause they are controled by the economical power. They should be a key part in the democracy, being critic and exposing politician and bankers affairs and fiddles. But as long as they are puppets of the economical power, they are part of the problem.

      Use the social networks. Another globalization for everyone is posible!

      1. thats whats diferent nowadays, we have social networks“.

        I believe we have just this moment witnessed the tipping point of who influences the mindset of a People.
        Faster, broader and instantly debatable, social media is what will shift the balance of the structure of societies.
        Yay! it’s beginning to start.

        -Throw a Stone for Jesus-

  6. Classic media (TV, newspapers…) are manipulated by goverments and bankers! This is the first time in history where social communication can be so fast and bidireccional.. Please, help us spread what’s going on through your social media (facebook, twitter…)! This can get a world wide protest! Let people know how tired we are of being in the hands of this greedy and megalomaniac politicians and bankers all around the world! Power to the people, not just to this bunch of power-and-money-addicted bastards!

    Spread the word, please!

  7. I live around the corner from there in seville (plaza de encarnacion) and it looks from that photo more like there were a few hundred people there, as opposed to 17000! 17M refers to the date (17 mayo) not the attendence!

  8. This has taken a lot of people by surprise, including me. And I’m not precisely in agreement with the platform – some of their ideas are, well, not practical to say the least.

    But come on. You want to know why this is happening? BECAUSE WE HAVE 20% UNEMPLOYMENT AND IF YOU ARE YOUNG THE NUMBERS ARE WORSE.

    Thats it, in a nutshell. Have enough young, smart, internet savvy people with no work or shitty low paying jobs (“temporal” jobs and “becarios” that remain “becarios” forever) and no perspective of work and no home and no perspective of getting out of their parents home … and what do you expect?

    1. Their (our) ideas are basically that the way the current politics work fails miserably in addressing the neccessities of the common people and a change in the way the political power and the citizens relate is needed.
      Everything else is up to debate, this is not a leftist or rightist movement but one directed to people of all origins and conditions.

  9. Also, the media coverage has been laughable at best. El Pais covers it a bit… and tries to paint it as “Vote PSOE”. I dont know the right wing press, I dont read them cause I want to keep breakfast inside me, thanks.

  10. The last photo comes from the May 17th protest in Seville, there were not 17 thousands. In the other hand in May 15th there were 8.000 (less or more) protesters in the streets of Seville alone.

    There was an astounding lack of coverage from the mainstream press and TV stations. And El Pais was one of the worse offenders.

    Some news stations went as far as to say the we where only “two hundred radicals”.

    Now, political parties from left and right try to convince us to vote for them because they are “cool” and the “understand”.

    But they don`t understand that THEY are the real problem.

  11. Our countries are their people’s, they don’t belong to the corrupt polititians, bankers or money empires. Spread that out, we are more honest, more candid, more loyal, more peaceful, and above all, we are more. WE RULE.

  12. Thanks for the quote. It’s exciting what’s going on here in Spain. Could you please add my twitter link to the picture info, ?


  13. The # is considered a punctuation and may represent a number, numero, pound, hash, and is also known as an octothorp, comment, hex, sharp, space, square, tic tac toe, number and set theory, topology, 941 Hz and 1477 Hz on a telephone, metadata tag or hash tag. So I assume it must be for something like twitter, which I don’t partake. So is that what the pound symbol means?

  14. Protesting high unemployment is weird, because I’m not sure what they want the government to do.

    Endemic corruption is a drag on the economy, so fixing that would help in general. Then there’s pro-market reforms, but I’m not sure the people who wrote that manifesto above would agree.

    1. Its not only protesting high unemployement, but massive numbers of unemployed youth make the protest possible – they are not at work. They have all day to protest.

      And in a great deal what they protest is that both major political parties are exactly the same shit. Coming this round of election they are again going on empty promises, on “vote us because the others are worse”, on having list full of well known corrupt politicians, and basically having the same plan – the “right” ecstatic at the prospect of cuts and privatization and the “left”… doing the same with a less happy face.

      All in all, vote for Kang or vote for Kodos, no real alternative to regenerate Spanish political and economic situation.

    2. What would be a good alternative to austerity is Keynesianism, where economic downturns are met by government stimulus & public works programs. Geez, BB is turning into a free market neo-liberal wasteland.

  15. Would people stop comparing these sorts of protests to those in the Arab world it is both arrogant and stupid.

    Protesters in the Arab world went out with the very real risk of being gunned down in the hundreds (and in some countries are being gunned down in the hundred). No matter which European country you are in that is not going to happen. You are not a heroic revolutionary, you are just part of the normal democratic process.

    More importantly they had a real objective, the dictator out of office, the freedom to form political parties, free and fair elections. Real, measurable things that can be implemented within a month or two.

    Budget deficits, long term youth unemployment, banking crises. These are complicated problems with origins from bad decisions made decades ago. The nature of the problem or solution is by no means clear.

    What does a win for the protesters even look like?

    I’m going to sit out here in the street and not eat until you achieve a 15% reduction in youth unemployment.

    1. Anon, & what’s complicating things is the politicians think austerity is the answer to deficits, while the real answer is economic stimulus by the government if you remember your Keynes. Cutting the budget just makes matters worse & increase unemployment. I’m glad to see the Spanish youth take to the streets to protest this. FDR didn’t start the New Deal because he was a bleeding heart liberal, but because he had a very real fear that the American people were going to throw capitalism out & go with a communist revolution. If the Spanish youth could put some sort of fear of being thrown out like old newspapers into their politicians, more power to them.

    2. Actually, under hidden provisions in the Lisbon Treaty (only shown within the full 1,500 page version, not the little 317 page version they let you see), the treaty brings back the death penalty for rioting and civil disobedience during a time of war. We’re in a time of war – an eternal war against so-called Islamic extremists and other bogeymen that our governments will concoct in order to remove more of our civil liberties.

      I have also read the UK Government’s “Continuity of Government” plans released to me through a Freedom of Information Act Request. they do allow for both the military and the police to use lethal force to put down riots, mass protests, and revolutions, including peaceful ones.

      Spain, being a NATO Country, will have similar C.O.G. plans already in place.

      So actually, IF the Spanish Government wanted to go down that route, the protesters could well find that they’re putting their lives at risk.

      ALL Governments are inclined towards tyranny.

  16. For the benefit of many outside of Spain who see this as a protest solely based on the issue of unemployment, perhaps the full picture isn’t getting through. The real issue is the lack of any current political party to seriously address the issues facing the population as a whole. They offer no viable solutions or proposals on how the issues of the current economic climate may be dealt with – in the Spainish case, an effect of the mismanagement, bad policy making and corruption that was rampant in more economically strong times, particularly when it comes to construction and development. The policies made to tackle this crisis have effectively dealt the common man a low blow, whilst those who are truly responsible have been spared and even supported through tax cuts and payouts to keep the big cogs of capitalism greased and pockets of the execs full – whilst those in lowly positions are continually thrown on the street to keep the shareholders content.

    Through all this, the main political parties have been hard at work …. not to resolve the issues between them, but in a great mudslinging match in an effort to outdo and smear the names of the other. Quite honestly, it has become embarrassing to watch any political speech or debate as it is more aking to a primary school playground. It is damn obvious that the politicians are using the platform for their own gain – sure, some would argue that this is the nature of politics … though does this mean that we are to stand by and watch it happen?

    The issues go much deeper than what I simplify here, though I´m sure that you guys agree, that the lack of political leadership and real political alternatives is something that is not only isolated to Spain, but is growing throughout the world …. as is the sentiment of discontent. This is not something that has popped up overnight. It has been growing at the grass roots for a mighty long time now. Nor is it something that should be dismissed as unrealistic ideals from a select group of young radicals. This sentiment transcends generations and social classes, and even political beliefs. It is not something that will go away overnight ….. nor should it.

    People across Europe have been stirring for a long time now, and support is already flowing in from across the EU, including England, France and Germany … perhaps the strongest and supposedly more democratic powers in the region. The people of Iceland have already stood up to their politicians and created a huge change in the political direction of that country. This silent revolution was not known to most as it is not in the benefit of most mainstream new agencies to run with that story. But it was successful and a completely peaceful revolution.

    The fat cats have been getting overly greedy by feeding on the small mice for way too long … and little mice all over the world are starting to gather together as one voice. There is only so much a society can take before it will break. It’s time for the politicians to work out just who they are working for … and take their sides.

  17. And in a very idiotic move, the Junta Electoral de Madrid (Madrid Election Board in my own free translation) has communicated that the manifestations have to cease as they “dont have any extraordinary or grave situation to justify them” and “the call for a responsible vote may affect the citizen’s right to choose their votes”

    Mainly, is charming to see them give the reason to the people in the street; “no, this is not real democracy, as in we dont care about what you think or want – this is a democracy only for our 2 parties”

  18. “… gathered to demand jobs, economic equality, and “real democracy.”

    Demanding equality by taxing and regulating everyone who takes risks, innovates and/or works hard out of existence, but then DEMAND ‘jobs’ (which of course would not involve work or anything else similarly demeaning) to let them live in middle class affluence; and ‘real democracy’ which they obviously do not have because the socialist/communist Government they currently have which espouse these very values has failed to deliver. They MUST be undemocratic, surely reality would not have reared its ugly head! PLEASE PLEASE won’t someone give these people the magic of cargo!!!

    1. Free markets suck, dude. They go in cycles of boom & bust, & we are in the bust cycle now. Keynesianism replies to this cycle with government stimulus during the bust cycle via public job programs. This primes the pump of the economy. Marxism replies to the boom & bust nature of capitalism by throwing out capitalism. Russia didn’t have a Great Depression, but they did have the Great Terror. So New Deal like programs now seem like a reasonable alternative to Neoliberalism & austerity.

  19. I am an American student studying in Madrid, and I live less than a ten minute walk from Sol. My roommate nearly got hit by rubber bullets on his way back home on Sunday. Every time I’ve walked through Sol this week there have been at least a dozen riot vans, and, although there are much less people there now than there are in the video, there is still a decent amount of protesters who have set up improvised shelters in the center of the plaza and are refusing to leave until their goals are met. The protest grows at night too, with many young people joining in.

  20. A bit of a tangential coincidence: that snazzy architectural canopy in the last photo is a just-completed work by J. Mayer H., called the Metropol Parasol, which was featured as yesterday’s

    we have no democracy,we have just a lot of corrupt politicians willing to fill the pockets.Spain is probably the most corrupt country in the world and god has nothing to do with that.

  21. Maybe I’ve been outside of Spain for too long, but really, I don´t see what do they expect the government (or any political party at all) to do. There isn´t a magical key that is solving all of their problems. Is really sad to see how the most prepared and educated generations of young Spaniards are mostly unemployed, but if you look at the overall situation…that strike is only going to make it worse for a country of the edge of falling into the same kind of situation Greece or Ireland are.

    My conclusion, and I feel sad for saying this about the society I grew in, is that Spaniards are too used to sit down, complain and wait for somebody else to do the things that require a colective effort.

  22. We wont real democracy an a choice to elect people who represents us and no politicians who are servants of the bankers and long sharks. We are tired of the people serving the two mayority parties with no mayor diferences from one another.This is a pacefull revolution that pretends what the eleted politicians work in favor of people and no bankers.
    Excuse my english but I am a mad spaniard and at this moment,I wish that my voice would be heard farder away of the borders of Spain.
    ¡REAL REPRESENTATIV DEMOCRACY NOW! is what we are claiming for.

  23. Democracy sucks, but there’s nothing better.

    Electoral systems are always compromise solutions. Some countries are ruled basically by two parties, and some, like Italia, have a really tough time keeping a government.

    All parliaments should have white seats for the citizens that active want to express a “you all suck” idea.

    Here in Spain there’s a party called “Ciudadanos en blanco” (Citizens in White) that promised a makeshift way of doing that using the current system.

    I have to say that I am happy to live in a country where this many citizens can make themselves be heard in such a civilized way.

  24. Hermanas y hermanos que hablan español perdone mi español. # 49 Yo estoy de acuerdo. La mejor manera de poner fin a lo que estos mentirosos llaman “progreso ” es a vetar cada movimiento que quieren hacer, sentarse, tenga en cuenta los posibles resultados, y luego decidir cómo proceder. La única manera de separarse de esta pesadilla capitalista es a través de bloqueo de lo que puede procesar a través del Parlamento, a través de la abstención en masa a través del proceso parlamentario. Este será un proceso muy largo, pero los abstencionistas ya forman un porcentaje enorme de la mayoría de los electores europeos. La única otra es mucho más violenta y mucho más preferible menos.

    #49. I agree. The best way to halt what these liars call “progress” is to veto every single move they want to make, sit back, consider the possible outcomes, and then decide how to proceed. The only way to secede from this capitalist nightmare is via blocking what we can through parliamentary process, via mass abstention through the parliamentary process. This will be a very lengthy process, but the abstentionists already form a massive percentage of most European electorates. The only other course is far more violent and far less preferable.

  25. I suggest to anyone who sympathizes with the reasons for the protests, to destroy their debit and / or credit cards (provided they have no negative balance), and then cancel them at the bank.
    why 50% of the country is unemployed, losing their homes, or trying to survive at best , and BBVA Bank closed 2010 with an “official” net profit of 4.606 Million Euros, Banco Santander, 244 million euros, La Caixa 1.307 Millions , Caja Madrid 256 Millions. , Bancaja 102 Millions….etc.
    Is this their crisis?

  26. Hundreds of thousands of portuguese went out on the streets on March 12th, 2011. Only El País thought it was a relevant event and took notice of it. The rest of the european media turned it’s back on the portuguese, certainly afraid of the repercussions… Tough luck! The monster is out of the cage now. After Greece and Portugal, Spain went on protest. If it wasn’t for the determination of a few spanish youngsters – who despite being forbidden to manifest by the authorities, held their own – the international media would never exploit these news. It’s no use to be like an ostrich and stick one’s head in the ground skipping reality. In society too, what goes around comes around.

    1. @ #53,

      Yeah, we really did manifest here in Portugal… I was there.
      What good did that bring us? Nothing. It’s all the same, only changing for the worst.

      I hope you guys there in Spain can do better then we did.
      My sincere hopes and fuerza are with you now.

      Show the world you can do something where we failed!

  27. Congratulations Young Spaniards – We are proud of you from here in the Big Apple New York City!!!!

    Enhorabuena Jovenes Espanoles – Estamos orgullosos de vosotros desde aqui en la Gran Manzana Nueva York!!!!!

  28. Cuando ustedes hayan terminado, por favor, envíe un poco de eso a nosotros en los Estados Unidos.

  29. Wish i could be there with you guys, there is no worthier cause.

    Fuerza a los valientes!

  30. I was there last light – I’ve never seen that much creativity in all my years in Spain. A truly liberating experience, even though you might say goals are fuzzy (yes Rayonic, what can governments do? Particularly where they’re infiltrated/compromised). But Mao once said, “dare to struggle, dare to win” — i.e., you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. I just wished I could’ve left another big placard “cuidado, sueños en gestación” (careful, dreams are hatching here).

    Isn’t that what democracy is all about? Freedom of the mind, I mean.

  31. Desde Sevilla, desde España, a toda la gente de cualquier pais. Somos pacificos, reivindicamos pluralidad politica real y la eliminación del bipartidismo. No usamos armas, solo nuestra voz. Hay muchos paises, como EEUU (USA) que también sufren un bipartidismo constante y perpetuo. Es hora de protestar, ánimo occidente, seremos mas!

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