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Spain: From Spanish Revolution to World Revolution

Demonstrations on the streets of Madrid on May 15 have turned into big camp outs all over Spain, and across the world.  There had not been any police intervention since the second day of protests in Madrid, May 17, but on the morning of May 27 Barcelona protesters started sending messages that they were being evicted. According to the police, it was not an eviction but an attempt to allow for the cleaning patrols to do their job. Videos showing police charging against demonstrators have gone viral:

Updates can be followed through @acampadabcn twitter user and through the #acampadabcn hashtag:

@jedweightman: AP confirms rubber bullets used to disperse protesters in Barcelona #acampadabcn #spanishrevolution #solidarity #demo2011

@acampadabcn: Compartid y difundid todas las fotos y vídeos sobre lo acontecido hoy, q lo sepa todo el mundo!! #acampadabcn #bcnsinmiedo #laplazaresiste

@acampadabcn: Share and spread the word about the pics and videos of what happened today, let everybody know!! #acampadabcn #bcnsinmiedo #laplazaresiste

Police reaction has managed to attract more protesters to the camps and it will likely spark solidarity all over Spain and the rest of the world. Mobilizations in Spain have ignited what has been called a “World Revolution”, with more than 600 demonstrations and camp outs taking place in solidarity with Spanish protesters, as this interactive map shows:

Blogger Alexander Higgins has gathered videos of demonstrations all over Europe, such as this one taking place in Bastille, Paris, on May 20.

World demonstrations can also be followed through the World Revolution: Real Democracy Facebook page, and by following the #worldrevolution and #globalcamp tags on Twitter, and the dozens of tags for each location such as #acampadaoporto, #greekrevolution, #prisedelabastille, #europerevolution… which users employ for sharing locations and calling for demonstrations, videos, news and insights on the reasons to demonstrate.

@mariyastrauss: Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. #WorldRevolution

@liandraleao: Greece right now! http://t.co/YcOpHNq #greekrevolution #spanishrevolution #europerevolution #worldrevolution

@moxybeirut: #unitelb what are your thoughts about a #acampada hashtag for #Beirut #Lebanon as part of the #worldrevolution?

The extent of the movement has exceeded everyone's expectations. Protests in Spain have turned into something quite different from what the first demonstrations were. The group Democracia Real Ya [es] (Real Democracy Now), which organized the May 15 march, has since dissociated from the camps organization, whose updates can now be followed through the Tomalaplaza.net [es] (Take the Square) website. Spanish independent news site Periodismo Humano [es] published on May 26 a report on the first 40 people who decided to camp out on May 16, which lead to a movement that gathered tens of thousands and has become global.

The first 40 at Acampadasol on May 16. Image source: Periodismo Humano

Some users have expressed concerns that the camp itself might become the goal:

@svillodas: La gente llenó esta plaza para luchar contra un régimen putrefacto, no para aprender a tocar la guitarra o hacer disfraces #acampadasol

@svillodas: People took this square to fight a corrupt regime, not to learn how to play guitar and make customs #acampadasol

To challenge these concerns, protesters published On May 26 four starting points [es] that, according to the site, have been agreed upon by consensus at the latest assembly:

  • Electoral reform oriented to a more representative form of democracy and more effective devices for citizen participation.
  • Rules that ensure political transparency in order to fight corruption
  • Effective separation of public powers
  • Devices for citizen control of political responsibility

May 20, 2011, Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain. Photo by Julio Albarrán, republished under a CC License.*

What will come next? Protesters have not decided when they will leave the square, but assemblies are already organized in more than 30 neighbourhoods to continue discussing several different issues. This will be the second stage of a movement that is allowing citizens to learn about democratic processes from their own experience, while attempting to teach main political parties a lesson in democracy.

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