Update on "Spanish Revolution" protests: riot police surrounding protesters in Madrid

A quick followup on yesterday's post about widespread demonstrations in support of democracy and economic equality in Spain: according to various sources, including tweets from people at the protests, police are out in full force. There are concerns that things could turn violent. Follow #spanishrevolution on Twitter for a sense of what's unfolding. @teleoperador is broadcasting a live webstream here. This flyer is circulating widely, online and in the plaza, and explains some of what the protesters want.


  1. As I said on the other – the thing is, the electoral board of Madrid declared the camping not authorized because “there are no extraordinary reasons” and “calling for responsible voting may affect the citizens right to choose their votes”

    Seems choosing Monthy Python as a theme was more than appropiate. Spanish twitters are now making as many #juntaelectoralfacts as they can.

    Me, I’m moving from “idealist utopians, poor young and naive guys, charming but… ” to “you know what, you are right kids, screw this bullshit”

  2. “real democracy”? They live in a fake one now? unfortunately I cannot read the flyer better than the most basic, so all nuance is gone for me. Someone explain.

    1. Part of the complain is that we live in a 2 party system where your choice is incompetent, corrupt, right wing party and incompetent, corrupt left wing party. With no real difference between them and a chasm between the problems of the people and what the politicians consider important.

      Basically, that if democracy is popular representation, they dont represent anybody but themselves.

    2. BTW, if the flyer thing is more or less the same here http://albordedelviaducto.blogspot.com/2011/05/todos-una-por-fin.html, this is the summary:

      Asking to stop some of the messages because they are “divisive”, and concentrate in 3 main ones that left & right people can agree on:

      1 – Change the law so the votes of everybody everywhere in Spain count the same when electing representatives – LATRO SAYS: funny, this one I’m not 100% behind :-P May have problems with the “federalist” approach

      2 – True separation of powers: Justice should be really independent, Senate should have a real role

      3 – Political Regeneration: open lists, no more public funds for parties (LATRO SAYS: another one I think was not very well thought of :-P), public servants that are judged guilty of corruption should be inelegible forever, publication of their financial situation before & after assuming their positions…

  3. @xeni: why are you qualifying these events with quotation marks? “Spanish Revolution?” “Real Democracy?” Explain yourself!

  4. The Electoral Comission in Madrid has prohibited tonight’s demonstration, arguing that it could affect on the freedom of vote and on the campaign for the incoming elections. Which is what is all about.

  5. to #2:
    “”real democracy”? They live in a fake one now?”

    “the electoral board of Madrid declared […] “calling for responsible voting may affect the citizens right to choose their votes””

    Need i go on? :-D

    Our target is to throw away the de-facto bipartidism that’s been ruling Spain from the last thirty years

  6. We need help from everyone. Burn changes in our country Spain. twitter searches #tomalaplaza #yeswecamp #spanishrevolution.

    Help us

  7. I wish they would have more clear intent. If you hold a protest and your stated goals are conceptual rather than concrete, actionable changes to a political or financial system, all you are really saying is “we’re upset”. It also implies that you’re not really sure what you want.

    1. “Democracia Real Ya” has some concrete propositions – half of them I dont believe in or I dont like.

      But yes, that is a problem. On the other hand, it is getting people to movilize precisely because most of them may not have a clear idea of what measures they are for – but they are sure who they are against.

  8. It seems @teleoperador is offline. Cell phone inhibitors? The livestream traffic camera at Sol is also offline, strangely

    And the subway’s loudspeakers are encouraging people not to go to Sol, according to lainformacion.com (http://noticias.lainformacion.com/interes-humano/sociedad/megafonia-del-metro-advierte-de-que-no-acuda-la-gente-a-la-concentracion-de-sol-tras-el-dictamen-de-junta-electoral_GwkgZRzAq9gxeSTVj4Aj34/)

  9. Baldhead, they are calling it a false democracy because Spain is deep in a bipartisan system that has either the conservative Partido Popular (lit. People’s Party) or the supposedly right-wing PSOE (lit. Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) in charge.
    This bipartisanship comes from an electoral law that favors big parties to the point where every other party can only aspire to play a supporting role.
    As a result, both parties have become tremendously corrupt, not only at national but also at regional and local levels. They have also given in to the pressures of lobbies, to the point where laws are being passed without the consent of a vast majority of the population, specially those laws putting the weight of the crisis on the younger and poorer (Spain’s youth sports over 40% unemployment, which is a ghastly number. Many of those who do have jobs have to suffer almost slavery – illegally long workdays, illegally low wages, but noone seems to want and put a end to it).

    Given this situation, the demands on the flyer seem quite sensible to me:

    1.- Reform of the electoral law, so that every vote counts the same.
    2.- True separation of powers (this is blatantly obvious if you live in Spain, most high-ranking judges belong or have ties to one of these two parties, corruption trials scarcely go anywhere, etc. Don’t get me started on the media).
    3.-Political reestructuration: They basically ask for more transparency, and less leniency on corruption. Another point is open lists, so that you can vote the man, not the acronym.

    Hope this serves to paint a better picture on the background. I’m not an expert and definitely IANAL, so please forgive my mistakes.

    1. “I’m not an expert and definitely IANAL, so please forgive my mistakes.”

      Well, the big one is that PSOE is “left” (as left as Labour in the UK :-P) Rest is spot on, in my opinion

  10. It doesn’t make too much sense. I’m 40, I voted Izquierda Unida party most of the times (“real” left compared to PSOE). Obviously electoral laws favourites bipartidism, but voting should be the solution, not no voting. Spain is not Egypt nor Siria! People is allowed to do what they want. There’s a lot of people that never vote, so… That why there’s only two big blocks nowadays, in Spain and almost everywhere. That is people responsabilty, not to promote abstentionism. If we all vote any of the 3 or 4 small parties, that would make a difference for sure

  11. WE (I’m a part of Spanish Revolution) aren’t saying to not voting!! We actually claim we need to vote (no Null vote, no empty vote and of course, no big party vote) WE want people vote minority parties who can be represented on the parlament.

  12. Quit saying “two party state” (in the way other people say “one party state”). Last time I got to vote in Spain I seem to recall over 30 different parties were running? Plus a couple of dozen independents. The only reason I am not voting this year is I only had two days to enroll (overseas) because my voter registration expired.

    Most of the people arrested by the police have been disowned by the protest organisers as “violentos” -they were smashing windows, attacking police and making the other protester look very bad. Thats what the riot police video posted above shows.

    Most of the english language reporting on this has been very bad…I suggest people look at the english section of El Pais particularly todays editorial. Yes, people should be pissed off but Spain is not Syria… I am really pissed off by all the smug ignorance thats passing for online journalism

  13. I reported in my Bloog about your protests. In the big media in Germany
    not report you. But many bloggers talk about you. Good luck wishes you from Germany. akivoeg

  14. I am a foreigner living and working in Spain and I was waiting for this protest since a long time. They have a 20% unemployment rate, 50% of those are young people (with a diploma, or two or three!).
    The Spanish youth has no future at all in Spain at the moment. The acceptance of a lot of voters that the people who represent them are corrupt to the bone baffles me every time (same feeling with Berlusconi remaining in power in Italy).

    Last week I had a discussion with a law student who refuses to go to vote, because of the Two-party system and the widespread corruption. A law student, for crying out loud, not believing in his own system. It is not too difficult to imagine with Camps remaining in power in Valencia, the judge Garzón being ousted for investigating civil war atrocities and Esperanza Aguirre, Sarah Palin of Spain and president of the Comunidad de Madrid, freely announcing that their judicial system is biased in reference to Bildu, blindly putting aside the separation of powers. In a working democracy, you step down after those comments. This might seem a leftist rant, but believe me, the PSOE are no better in terms of corruption and bad crisis management.

    This movement finally gives me the impression that they have had enough and I cannot support them more (I will be taking the bus to Madrid tomorrow).

    Go Spain!

  15. Thank you all. I now understand. Good to see someone actually explain why, since none of the articles seemed interested in doing so. Good news, though. Canada was thought by many as essentially a two party system (you can vote Liberal or Conservative) for many years. The other week a lot of people decided that one of those parties was no longer of use to them and went another way. Hopefully folks wake up and realise that maybe those two big parties aren’t their only choices. Having someone useful in the smaller parties might be nice as well but one thing at a time, I suppose.

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