2011–2012 Spanish protests

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2011–2012 Spanish protests
Part of the 2008–2011 Spanish financial crisis, the European sovereign debt crisis and the impact of the Arab Spring
The Puerta del Sol square in Madrid became a focal point and a symbol during the protests. In the picture, on 20 May.
Date May 15, 2011 (2011-05-15)  — ongoing (3177 days)
Location  Spain, worldwide
Status Ongoing
Causes Unemployment, economic conditions, welfare cuts, political corruption, particracy, unrepresentative bipartidism, democratic deficit
Goals Direct democracy, reduce influence of economic powers in politics
Characteristics Demonstrations, civil disobedience, civil resistance, rioting, sit-ins, online activism, protest camps occupations
Injuries and arrests
Injuries310+ injuries[citation needed]

The 2011–2012 Spanish protests, also referred to as the 15-M Movement[1] and the Indignants movement,[2] are a series of ongoing[3] demonstrations in Spain whose origin can be traced to social networks and Real Democracy NOW (Spanish Wp→: Democracia Real YA) among other civilian digital platforms and 200 other small associations.[4] The protests started on 15 May with an initial call in 58 Spanish cities.[5]

The series of protests demands a radical change in Spanish politics, as protesters do not consider themselves to be represented by any traditional party nor favoured by the measures approved by politicians.[6] Spanish media have related the protests to the economic crisis, Stéphane Hessel's Time for Outrage!,[6] the NEET troubled generation and current protests in the Middle East and North Africa,[7] Greece,[8] Portugal[9] as well as the Icelandic protest and riots in 2009.[10] The movement drew inspiration from 2011 revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and uprisings in 1968 France, and Greece in 2008. The protests were staged close to the local and regional elections, held on 22 May.

Even though protesters form a heterogeneous and ambiguous group, they share a strong rejection of unemployment, welfare cuts, Spanish politicians, the current two-party system in Spain between the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and the People's Party, as well as the current political system, capitalism, banks and bankers,[11] political corruption and firmly support what they call basic rights: home, work, culture, health and education.[12]

According to statistics published by RTVE, the Spanish public broadcasting company, between 6.5 and 8 million Spaniards have participated in these protests.[13]


Since the beginning of the ongoing economic crisis, Spain has been hit hard with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, reaching a eurozone record of 21.3%. The number of unemployed people in Spain stood at 4,910,200 at the end of March 2011, up about 214,000 from the previous quarter,[14] while youth unemployment rate stands at 43.5%, the highest in the European Union.[15] In order to reduce the jobless rate, the government approved in September 2010 a sweeping overhaul of the labour market designed to slash unemployment and revive the economy. Main trade unions CCOO and Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), as well as minor ones, rejected the plan as it made it easier and cheaper for employers to hire and fire workers. Trade unions called for a general strike on September 29, the first one in a decade in Spain.[16]

Demonstration in Barcelona on January 22 against the raise in the retirement age

During the rest of the year, the government went on with economic reforms and in January 2011, it agreed to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 after reaching an agreement with the main trade unions. Despite that, anarcho-syndicalist unions and other minors ones rejected the plan and called for a strike on January 27 in Galicia, Catalonia and the Basque Country. Demonstrations were also held in Madrid and ended up in clashes.[17][18] The raise was also rejected by the majority of Spaniards.[19]

Although not related to economics, Spanish media have reported the pass in February of the so-called Sinde law, an anti-internet download law which allows for a judicial order to close down any web page which shows links to illegal or illegal downloads of copyright content, as one of the reasons that led to the protests. The law, approved by PSOE, PP and Convergence and Union, has been heavily criticized in Spanish forums and social networks and after the pass an anonymous campaign called #nolesvotes appeared on the Internet, calling on refusing to vote any of the parties that passed the law.[20]

Prior to 15 May and the following camp-sites many demonstrations were held in Spain during 2011 and serving as a precedent of the protests, such as the April 7 demonstration in Madrid by the student group Youth without Future (Spanish Wp→: Juventud Sin Futuro) which gathered 5,000 people. Spanish media has linked the demonstrations with the 2008-2009 protests against the Bologna Process.[21] The Portuguese "Geração à Rasca" movement also served as an inspiration.[22]

Organizing the protests

On January 2011, the digital platform Democracia real YA was created on Spanish social networks and forums.[23] Using Twitter and Facebook it called "the unemployed, poorly paid, the subcontractors, the precarious, young people..." to take the streets on 15 May in the following places (in alphabetical order): A Coruña, Albacete, Algeciras, Alicante, Almería, Arcos de la Frontera, Badajoz, Barcelona, Bilbao, Burgos, Cáceres, Cadiz, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ferrol, Figueres, Fuengirola, Granada, Guadalajara, Huelva, Jaén, Lanzarote, La Palma, León, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Logroño, Lugo, Madrid, Málaga, Menorca, Mérida, Monforte de Lemos, Murcia, Ourense, Oviedo, Palma, Pamplona, Plasencia, Ponferrada, Puertollano, Salamanca, San Sebastián, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Soria, Tarragona, Toledo, Torrevieja, Ubrique, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo, Vitoria and Zaragoza.[5] That same day, small demonstrations in support of the Spanish ones were organised in Dublin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Bologna, London and Paris.

Before the demonstrations, Democracia real YA staged several symbolic events, such as the occupation of a bank in Murcia on 13 May.[24] At the time of the demonstrations, the Democracia real YA website had the support of over 500 diverse associations, whilst continuing to reject any collaboration from any political party or labour union, defending the protests’ independence from all institutionalised political ideology.



15 May

The first protest was called under the motto "we are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers" and was focused on opposition to what the protesters called "antisocial means in the hands of bankers", partly referring to the changes made in 2010 to contain the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis through bailout of the banks, which the Spanish society saw as responsible for the crisis, while at the same time the government kept announcing social program cutbacks. Protesters also demanded more democracy, a new electoral law and end to political corruption as well as other claims, such as banks nationalisation.

Demonstration in Madrid

Protests took place in all the planned cities. According to Democracia real YA, 50,000 people gathered in Madrid alone. The National Police, however, placed the number at 20,000.[25] The march started in Plaza de Cibeles and ended in Puerta del Sol, where several manifestos were read. Also according to the organisers, 15,000 gathered in the demonstration in Barcelona, which ended in front of the Parliament of Catalonia. In other cities such as Granada, up to 5,000 protesters showed up and the protest took place without incident, except for an exchange of insults between some protesters and members of the Fraternity of the Virgin of Rosario, whose procession overlapped with the end of the protest after the latter had gone on longer than expected. In Santiago de Compostela, a group of eight hooded people smashed several banks and local businesses.[26][27][28] It is estimated that the protesters that day were followed by about 130,000 people throughout Spain.[29]

At the end of Madrid's demonstration, protesters blocked the Gran Vía avenue and staged a peaceful sit-in in Callao street, to which police responded beating protesters with truncheons. As a result of the clashes and the following riots, several shop windows were destroyed and trash containers burnt. 24 people were arrested and five police officers injured.[30] On 17 May, Democracia real YA condemned the "brutal police repression" and rejected having any relation with the incidents.[29] After the incidents, a group of 100 people headed to Puerta del Sol and started the camping in the middle of the square, what would result in the following day's protests.[31][32]

16 May

During the day, several people gathered in Puerta del Sol and decided to stay in the square until the elections on 22 May. Meanwhile, 200 people started a similar action in Barcelona's Plaça Catalunya, although police had first tried to disperse the crowds. That day the tag #spanishrevolution, as well as other ones related to the protests, became a trending topic in the social-network Twitter.[31]

17 May

17 May, at night in Puerta del Sol

On the early hours of the morning, police cleared the Puerta del Sol square and removed the 150 people who had camped out. Two protesters were arrested and one injured.[33][34] As a response to the eviction and police violence, protesters called via SMS, Facebook and Twitter for a mass response at 8pm in several Spanish squares.[33] Large groups of demonstrators returned to protest in various cities, standing apart from the group in Madrid. This time the protests were not called together by Democracia real YA.[35] In a few cities, the police permitted the protesters to camp out, as took place in A Coruña, where more than 1,000 people gathered.[36] In Madrid, more than 12,000 people gathered and about 200 protesters organized into an assembly, during which they decided to organize themselves for spending the night in the square, creating cleaning, communication, extension, materials and legal committees. Previously they had received a great deal of help from small businesses in the form of food.[35][37][38]

Protests and nighttime camp-outs took place in 30 cities around Spain, including Barcelona and Valencia.[39] The protests gained the support of people in the United Kingdom, who announced that they would sit outside of the Spanish embassy from 18 until 22 May.[39] The protest in Plaza del Sol on the night of the 17 May consisted of about 4,000 people according to the authorities. 300 of them stayed until the dawn of 18 May.[38] Earlier that day, dozens of people gathered in front of the court in Madrid where the people arrested during the 15 May demonstration had been held. All detainees were released.[33]

18 May

Sol, 18 May, early morning

In Madrid, the protesters put up a large tarp canopy beneath which they passed out signs with the intention of spending the night there between the 17 and 18 May. According to a reporter from El País, many of them wore carnations, much as took place during the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. In addition, they organized a food stand which provided food donated by local businesses and set up a webcam to provide news from Puerta del Sol through the website Ustream.tv. The protesters were advised not to drink alcohol or to organize into groups of more than 20 people, as these acts could provoke a legal police crackdown.[40]

The police ordered protesters to disperse in Valencia, Tenerife and Las Palmas. During the evacuation of the Plaza del Carmen in Granada there were 3 arrests.[38][41][42] Speeches continued on throughout the afternoon. The protests grew to include León, Seville, where a camp out started as of 19 May,[38] and in other provincial capitals and cities of Spain. Support groups were created on social networks for each camp out through the social network Twitter and other national and international networks. Google Docs and other servers began to receive download requests for documents needed to legally request permission for new protests.[43] In the morning, the Federación de Asociaciones de Vecinos de Barcelona (FAVB) announced their support of the protests in Barcelona.[44] Protesters agreed to hold meetings between their organizing committees each day at 1pm and assemblies at 8pm.[45]

In addition to The Washington Post, which covered the protests on 15 May, news reports took place on the 18th in various media outlets, among them Le Monde, the most widely circulated newspaper in French, in an article which noted the rarity of such large scale protests in Spain.[46] The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, noted the importance of the effects of what has been called "The Facebook Generation" and the youth on the protests.[47] The Portuguese paper Jornal de Notícias, reported on the protests in Madrid on 18 May as soon as it was known that they had been prohibited.[48] And The New York Times, which cited El País and noted the strong organization of the protesters, particularly the 200 people who had been placed in charge of security and the use of Twitter to ensure dissemination of their message.[49] The Washington Post again reported on the protests in Puerta del Sol, giving them the name of a "revolution" and estimating the presence of 10,000 people on Wednesday afternoon's protest and comparing it with those in Cairo's Tahrir Square, which had recently ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.[50] The BBC made reference to the peaceful nature of the protests in Puerta del Sol.[7]

In the evening, the President of the Regional Electoral Committee of Madrid issued a statement declaring the protests illegal because "calls for a responsible vote can change the results of the elections".[51] Police units at Sol, however, received orders from the Government Delegation not to take out any further action.[52]

Protests and tents in Madrid on 20 May.
Since 18 May support protests have occurred daily in several major cities outside Spain, including Dublin, Berlin, London and Paris (shown here on 20 May).

20 May

According to Britain's The Guardian, "tens of thousands" had camped out in Madrid and throughout the country on the night of 19–20 May.[53]

United Left appealed the Electoral Board's decision to ban the protests before Spain's Supreme Court,[54] to which the State Prosecution presented its arguments shortly after.[55]

Appeal before the Supreme Court

Spain's public broadcaster, RTVE reported that the State Prosecutor upheld the decision taken by the Central Electoral Board[56] to ban the rallies.[57] Meanwhile, the police announced that they had been given instructions not to dissolve the crowd at Puerta del Sol provided that there was no disturbance of the peace.[58]

Appeal before the Tribunal Constitucional

RTVE later reported that the country's Constitutional Court had been deliberating since 7.30pm whether to review an appeal against the decision of the Central Electoral Board.[59] At 10.08 pm (local time), RTVE informed that the Constitutional had rejected the appeal on the formality that the appellant had not appealed first to the Supreme Court.[60]

At 22:47 United Left announced it would appeal the Supreme Court's decision before the Tribunal Constitucional. They had until midnight.[61]

At around 23:00, some 16,000 people (according to the police) and 19,000 (according to other sources) were gathered at and around Puerta del Sol.[62]

21 May

In Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and other cities 21 May started with a "mute scream" followed by cheers and applause.[63] Smaller cities, such as Granada, decided to start before midnight to avoid disturbing the neighbors. These protests occurred even though protests on the day before elections are banned.[64]

Around 28,000 people, according to the police, crowded Puerta del Sol and the neighboring streets despite the prohibition. Other cities also gathered large numbers of people: 15,000 in Malaga, 10,000 in Valencia, 6,000 in Zaragoza, 4,000 in Seville, 1,500 in Granada, 800 in Almeria, 600 in Cadiz, 200 in Huelva, around 100 in Jaen. 8,000 people gathered in Barcelona, 1,000 in Vigo, 3,000 in Bilbao, 2,000 in Oviedo, 2,000 in Gijón, around 800 in Avilés, 3,000 in Palma.[63]

There were demonstrations in other European cities, with 300 protesters participating in London, 500 in Amsterdam,[65] 600 in Brussels and 200 in Lisbon. Minor demonstrations occurred in Athens, Milan, Budapest, Tangiers, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Rome.[63]

22 May

Just after 14:00 on election day, the indignados (the outraged) that had gathered at Puerta del Sol announced they had voted to stay at least another week, until noon on 29 May.[66] Early analysis of the nationwide elections, won by the People's Party, suggested the protest movement could have contributed to losses for the ruling PSOE,[67] and to increased numbers of spoilt or blank votes, which reached record levels.[68]

24 May

In Murcia, some 80 people gained access to the headquarters of the television channel 7 Región de Murcia, avoiding security staff, in order to read a manifesto denouncing media manipulation.[69] Likewise, some 30 people gained unobstructed entry to the Tarragona office of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and shouted slogans against the political and economic systems, before moving to several financial sites in the city centre to do the same.[70]

25 May

In Málaga, the Ministry of Defence decided to relocate various activities for Armed Forces Day, including the King's visit, planned for Friday 27. Protesters had already been occupying the Plaza de la Constitución, where the events were scheduled to take place, for eight days.[71]

27 May

External media
P. Catalunya clash gallery
P. Catalunya clash (video 1) on YouTube Wp→
P. Catalunya clash (video 2) on YouTube Wp→
P. Catalunya clash (video 3) on YouTube Wp→
P. Catalunya clash (video 4) on YouTube Wp→

At approximately 7am on 27 May a more serious incident occurred when the city council of Barcelona decided to send 350 police officers from the Mossos d'Esquadra and another one hundred or so from the Guàrdia Urbana to temporarily vacate Plaça de Catalunya so that it could be cleaned ahead of the final of the Champions League final on 28 May, in which FC Barcelona were playing against Manchester United.[72][73] The resulting violent clash ended in 121 light injuries and provoked new calls to protest in all squares still occupied across Spain.[72][74] The majority of those injured suffered bruises and open wounds caused by police officers' truncheons, and one protester leaving with a broken arm.[74] By shortly after midday those protesters vacated had already returned to the square.[75]

Similar incidents also occurred in Lleida and Sabadell, where Mossos d'Esquadra officers dismantled the protesters' encampments.[72] According to police figures, more than 12,000 people gathered in Barcelona through the course of the day, angry about the earlier actions of the police, painting their hands white and carrying flowers as symbols of protest. They demanded, among other things, the resignation of the head of the Mossos d'Esquadra, Felip Puig. They also claimed that following the incident the encampment would likely not be taken down on Sunday 28, as had previously been stated.[76]

The clearing of the Barcelona camp was broadcast live by two Spanish television channels, including Antena 3, and was also widely dispersed through social networks such as Twitter.[77][78]

The Catalan ombudsman opened an investigation into the incident to check if police action was disproportionate and if it violated citizens' rights.[79]

'Listen to the people's wrath', Puerta del Sol, Sunday morning, 29 May.


2 June

At least 40 people gathered in Montcada i Reixac, Barcelona and prevented court officials from serving a family with the order to leave their home immediately, and protesting against banks repossessing people's homes.[80]

4 June

Representatives from 53 assemblies around Spain gathered in a mass assembly in Puerta del Sol.[81]

8 June

In Madrid, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Congreso de los Diputados, with a police barrier preventing them from entering the building. Demonstrations in front of the Parliament are banned in Madrid, but the protest finished without incidents.[82] In Valencia, dozens of people decided to stay in front of the regional Parliament.[83] In Barcelona, around 50 people protested outside the Catalan Parliament against Felip Puig.[84]

9 June

In the morning, police clashed with protesters in Valencia, injuring 18.[85] As a response of the police violence, demonstrators called for a protest in the city later that day, which gathered around 2,000 people. Support demonstrations were held in Barcelona and Madrid, the latter ending up in front of the Parliament for a second night. Barcelona's protest finished in front of the Popular Party's office.[86][87]

11 June

Thousands indignados from the whole country concentrated at the gates of major City Hall's during the mayors' swear-in acts after the elections. Protesters broke in the act in Granada, while two activists were arrested in Burgos and three in Palma. in Castellón, the police dissolved the demonstration violently.[88]

12 June

On Sunday, 12 June, four weeks after the protests had begun, protestors in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, began to leave, dismantling the "acampada," packing up tents, libraries, shops, and removing protest signs from surrounding sites.[89]

14 June

Thousands of people assembled in front of Barcelona's Parc de la Ciutadella and organised themselves to spend the night, in order to start on the following day a blockade of the Catalan Parliament (which is inside the park) and prevent deputies from entering the building, where the debate on the 2011 budget, which results in cuts in education and health, was to take place.[90]

15 June

Police confront demonstrator outside Catalan Parliament on 15 June

Clashes between protesters and Mossos d'Esquadra occurred in the early hours of the morning when hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the police cordon, while officers fired plastic bullets in order to disperse a group of protesters who had set up barricades using rubbish containers. Hours later, scuffles broke out as Mossos de Esquadra pushed protesters back so the deputies who arrived on foot could get in. Some deputies, such as former Minister of Labour Celestino Corbacho were jostled, heckled and sprayed on their way in, while other used used police helicopters to get to the parliament. Among those, the president of Catalonia Artur Mas.[91] Despite that lawmakers managed to enter the Catalonian Parliament and the scheduled session started with a 15 minute delay.[92] By midday, most of the protestes remained outside the parliament, while some confronted police with rocks and bottles. At least 36 people were injured, 12 of them Mossos d'Esquadra, and 6 people were arrested.

The protest was criticized by politicians across the country, and during a press conference, Mas warned of a possible "legitimate use of force" in case demonstrators stayed outside the Parliament and called on the public to be understanding. Some politicians went so far as dennouncing an attempted "coup d'etat".[93] Acampadabcn, the organiser of the event, and Democracia real YA "rejected" the use of violence but denounced the criminalisation of the movement by the media.[94] On Twitter and other social networks, many users suggested the possibility that secret police, infiltrated to cause the violence, started most of the clashes.[95] At the end of the day, demonstrators left the area and organised a march towards Plaça de Sant Jaume.

19 June

Starting point of the demonstration on 19 June 2011 in Córdoba. 8,000 people attended the demonstration.

A massive demonstration was carried out in almost 80 Spanish cities and towns. It is believe that more than a three million people rallied that day.

20–25 June

The first columns of the Indignant People's March from the whole country began walking towards Madrid, planning to arrive in the capital on July 23. The March's goal was to expand the proposals of the Movement while visiting rural areas, collecting their demands and starting people's assemblies.[96]

The March was organised in eight columns, consisting on dozens of activists from 16 cities:[97]

Indignant People's March Northeastern column, July 11th.
Southern column near Aranjuez, July 21st.


1 July

Dozens of people protested outside Barcelona's town hall during the swearing-in ceremony of Spanish Convergence and Union's candidate Xavier Trias.[98]

23 July

File:013 15M Sabado 23.JPg
All columns of the Indignant People's March unite in Puerta del Sol on July 23rd after a month long walk.

After a month long walk, the columns of walkers from the Indignant People's March who had departed from the main cities of Spain join in Puerta del Sol, Madrid where the Movement emerged. Thousands collapsed the main entrances of Madrid in an improvised demonstration, as sympathisers from Madrid and all over Spain joined the walkers.

The eight columns reunited at 21pm in Puerta del Sol under a banner saying "WELCOME DIGNITY", received with cheers and appaluses. The march culminated in a wrap up & after action review assembly, sharing social, political and economic problems of the towns found on the way, as well as the proposals made by the townsmen. Collecting these experiences, The Book of the People was made and redacted into an official document to be deposited in the Congress of Deputies' register[99] A provisional camp was established in Paseo del Prado to put up the thousands of walkers who had arrived.[100]

24 July

A demonstration formed under the motto "It's not a crisis, it's the system" and the poetic "It's not a crisis, I just don't love you anymore," joined by the hundreds of thousands[citation needed] of rural protesters who had arrived from all over the country. During the rally, protesters sprayed red hand graffiti on buildings, and posted bills saying "GUILTY" on bank offices and ministries, referencing the widely held belief that the crisis was caused by banks, the Government, and cuts in social services. Due to the large crowds, the demonstration split into two columns to avoid congestion. The demonstration ended with a protest camp in front of the Congress of Deputies.

External videos
Paseo del Prado clash (video 1) on YouTube Wp→
Paseo del Prado clash (video 2) on YouTube Wp→

25 July

The I 15-M Social Forum was held in order to coordinate the mobilisations of the following winter.During the economics assembly 2001 Nobel Prize Joseph Stiglitz appeared to show his support to the Movement. The camp in front of the Congress continued.

26 July

Fifty indignados left Puerta del Sol walking in an International March to Brussels, planning to arrive on 8 October, a week before the demonstrations of October 15th in order to give the people's proposals to the European Parliament.

27 July

The camp in Paseo del Prado was violently removed by the police, ending with a dozen of injured.[101] As a response a demonstration holding 500 rallied towards the Congress. Meanwhile, several activists crossed the police line in the Congress wearing formal dresses and succeeded entering the Congress of Deputies, where the Book of the People, containing the rural problematics found during the Indignant People's March, was delivered. Deputy Gaspar Llamazares compromised on presenting it to the Congress and forwarded it to the Prime Minister, however he made clear that he had no vinculations with the Movement.[102] [103]


2 August

When the 12 June assembly decision was made to dismantle the tent city in Puerta del Sol, the assembly decided by consensus to leave behind an information booth, called PuntoSol, where people interested in the movement could find information about how it had been decentralized to the neighborhood assemblies.[104] An organic garden surrounding one of the fountains in Sol was also left behind in the square. At 6:30 AM on 2 August, the national and municipal police evicted the remaining protestors at the information booth and cleaning crews dismantled PuntoSol[105] and the organic garden.[106] At the same time they evicted the tent city which had sprung up on the Paseo del Prado. The police then blocked off all access to Sol including Metro and Cercanías and filled the square with over 300 police, including riot police, and 50 police vans.[107]

In response, protestors called an immediate convergence to try to access the square. The heavy police presence impeded their entry. The protestors, then numbering over 5000,[107] decided to turn to the streets, demonstrating from Callao, Gran Vía, Cibeles, Paseo del Prado, all the way to the Congress of Deputies building, where they were met with more riot police, police barricades and police vans.[108] Protests then turned to Atocha and once more to Sol where they were met with an overwhelming police presence. The decision was then made by the protestors to occupy Plaza Mayor where an emergency participatory assembly was held in order to decide what to do.[109] Ultimately, protestors set up a temporary information booth in Plaza Mayor while some decided to stay there camping through the night.[110] At the end of the night, two people were arrested, and released the day after.[111]

3 August

File:Occupy Wall Street Poster, 15-M, Indignados, No hay pan para tanto chorizo.png
Poster used in the protests, "Not enough bread for too many chorizo (thieves)", referring to political corruption.[112]

During the Plaza Mayor assembly, it was decided that on the next day, an assembly would be held at Jacinto Benavente square at 6pm in order to attempt entering the square. The square was then cordoned off by police and metro and train stations closed, while police asked for identification to anyone trying to pass into the square. Police also asked customers from shops around Sol to close their businesses several hours earlier than usual. As the attempt failed, the protestors decided to start a new march from Atocha two hours later. The march from Atocha grew larger as people began passing through Cibeles and up the Gran Vía heading toward Puerta del Sol, where officers and police vans, prevented the demonstrators from marching up San Jerónimo street.[113] Police and about 4,000 demonstrators then played a game of cat-and-mouse as the demonstrators tried to enter Puerta del Sol through different streets. There were several moments of tension at different points and by 11pm, the groups of demonstrators disbanded and retreated to Callao Square, where an assembly was held and it was decided that a demonstration would be held at 12pm on the following day and there would be another attempt to enter Sol at 8pm.[113]

4 August

External videos
Carga policial frente al Ministerio del Interior on YouTube Wp→

Police charged against protesters in front of Interior Ministry in Madrid.[114]

Forum new.gif This section requires expansion.


15 October

As part of the 15 October movement, (related to the "Occupy" protests), hundreds of thousands marched in Madrid and other cities.

Half million people took part in the demonstration that filled the street and marched from Alcala and Cibeles toward Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, home of the "Indignants" movement, of which this has merged, according to Europapress media agency.[115] There 50 thousand people remained and most of them participated in the activities and general assembly organised. Barcelona, had as many as a quarter million.


5 December

200 police officers clear the hotel occupied in Madrid since October 15. No injuries were reported. Later that day, 3,000 people marched in the centre of Madrid against the eviction.[116]

28 December

Around 3,000 marched in the centre of Madrid in what was called the "Cabalgata de los Indignados" (the Outraged Cavalcade). At the beginning of the protest, demonstrators clashed with police, leaving five injured, including two police officers. Two persons were arrested. After the initial scuffles with police officers, demonstrators made their way to Puerta del Sol square without further incidents.[117]

Political response

The demonstration triggered reactions from the main political parties, who after debating issued statements on 16 May. On 15 May, the day of the first demonstration, almost every party was willing to be quoted on the situation.[118] Jaime Mayor Oreja, Member of the European Parliament representing the Partido Popular, was critical of the protesters’ alleged intention of not casting ballots on the forthcoming election. So was Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) member and Minister of Public Works and Transport José Blanco.[119] United Left had a positive view of the protesters’ demands, but admitted not having been capable of connecting to them. The communist party’s political coordinator Cayo Lara, defended the protesters’ refusal to become a “lost generation” and was critical of their removal from the Puerta del Sol on 16 May.[120] Other politicians, such as José Antonio Griñán, showed sympathy for the protests, while insisting in that not voting is not a solution. Esteban González Pons, general vicesecretary of the Partido Popular linked the demonstrations to the “antisystem far left”.[121]

Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González compared the protests, which he considered "an extraordinarily important phenomenon",[122] with those staged in Arab countries,[123] pointing out that "in the Arab world they are demanding the right to vote while here they are saying that voting is pointless".[122]

On 25 July 2011, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz participated to the "I Foro Social del 15M" organised in Madrid (Spain) expressing his support to the 2011 Spanish protests.[124] During an informal speech, he made a brief review of some of the problems in Europe and in the United States, the serious unemployment rate and the situation in Greece. "This is an opportunity for economic contribution social measures," argued Stiglitz, who made a critical speech about the way authorities are handling the political exit to the crisis. He encouraged those present to respond to the "bad ideas", not with indifference, but with "good ideas". "This does not work, you have to change it," he said.

See also

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  3. Majority of Spaniards support 15-M movement
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  5. 5.0 5.1 ¡Democracia Real Ya!; Calls Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "democraciarealya" defined multiple times with different content
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