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Spain: The October 15 Protests and Mass Media Coverage

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

During the global protests in over 1000 cities and 82 countries this October 15, people gathered under the motto “United for global change” to demand their rights and a true democracy.  The Internet was flooded with videos [es] calling upon the thousands of citizens that disagree with the policies of social cuts and the submissiveness of the governments to the market and financial corporations.

@democraciareal: ¿Piensas quedarte en casa y leer lo que ha sucedido en los libros de historia? ¿o quieres ser partícipe y vivirlo? # yosalgo15O #15Oready

@democraciareal: Do you think you'll stay at home and read about what happened in history textbooks? or do you want to participate and live it? # yosalgo15O #15Oready

In Spain's particular case, the list of meeting spots was quite extensive, as seen in the following image:

#15O meeting points in Spain

In the first cities throughout the country, the influx of people was extremely large, reaching 500,000 in Madrid and 350,000 in Barcelona.  The streets in these called-upon cities filled with posters, ideas and people outraged by neoliberal measures. Both demonstrations took place peacefully and the plazas came to harbor the feeling of union for global change, a change of mentality.

The country's more conservative media, which has been misinforming readers from the moment the #15O movement began, took to the streets with the following front page:

ABC's front page, 16 Oct. 2011 - The indignant demonstrators “celebrate” their global protest.

ABC's front page, 16 Oct. 2011 – The indignant demonstrators “celebrate” their global protest.

The front page of El Mundo downplays the demonstrations and depicts protesters as violent.

The front page of El Mundo downplays the demonstrations and depicts protesters as violent.

@MikelSB: Acabo de ver la portada de #ABCbit.ly/nAqieS ¡Lamentable manipulación! Sacan la única manifestación con incidentes del #15o

@MikelSB: I just saw #ABC‘s front page.  A terrible manipulation!  They take the only #15o demonstration that had violent incidents

The head of the newspaper El Mundo [es], Pedro J. Ramírez, conducted a poll on Twitter that suggests the position the conservative media wants to give the global movement for change; they either place 15M in the extreme left, portray them as violent, or completely belittle the thousands of people who took to the streets.

@pedroj_ramirez: Q opináis? a) El 15M generará nuevo partido de izdas. b) El 15M derivará en violencia antiRajoy. c) El 15M seguirá lúdico e irrelevante.

@pedroj_ramirez: What do you think? a) 15M will generate a new leftist party. b) 15M will result in anti-Rajoy violence. c) 15M will continue to be  recreational and irrelevant.

The front page of La Razón did not highlight the massive protests.

As seen on front pages the following day, on October 16 [es], not all newspapers share the same headlines nor partake in informational censorship in the least, unlike some cited previously.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

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