Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Mass anti-austerity protest in Madrid

  • Between 100,000 and 300,000 Spaniards showed their support for Podemos on Saturday (Photo: Bloco)

At least 100,000 people took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday (31 January) to show support for anti-establishment party Podemos, one week after Greek voters almost gave Syriza, a party with similar objectives, an absolute majority.

The electoral victory for Syriza, which Podemos regards as its “sister party”, boosted the mood in the Spanish movement.

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  • Protesters of all ages gathered in Madrid (Photo: 3Ro-Rokenublo)

“The wind of change has started to blow in Europe”, Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias told the crowd, referring to Syriza's win.

Greek flags could be seen on tv images of the protest, alongside banners with the Spanish word for 'change' and Podemos, which means 'we can'.

“Today we dream of making our dream reality in 2015. This year we begin something new, this year is the year of change and we will win the elections from PP”, saidIglesias, according to Spanish media.

Spain will have national elections by 20 December 2015.

Although Podemos was founded only just over a year ago, it is competing with the governing centre-right Partido Popular (PP) for the top spot in opinion polls.

The party wants an end to austerity measures and to improve living standards for ordinary Spaniards.

According to European statistics agency Eurostat, 55.5 percent of under-25s in Spain were unemployed in 2013, a rate second only to Greece (58.3%).

“The budget cuts and austerity politics have divided our country in two: those who have benefited and those who are worse than before,” said Iglesias, who is also a member of the European Parliament.

The manifestation drew 100,000 people according to the Spanish police. Podemos itself estimated the crowd as three times bigger while newspaper El Pais calculated there were around 153,000 protesters.

Meanwhile prime minister Mariano Rajoy dismissed Podemos' chances of winning the elections.

“They're a sad bunch, who go around saying how badly things are going”, Rajoy said of Podemos according to Associated Press.

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