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Spain: Madrid Preparing for “Indignado” Anniversary

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis

A year ago, people in Spain awakened to how the devastating crisis they are facing was being managed. The peaceful protest – with no attachment to any political party – against the financial and political powers grew into a solid movement called “indignados” that went out to the streets nationwide to protest and organized a sit-in at the emblematic  and centric Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

The roads that lead to Plaza del Sol in Madrid. Taken from Madrilonia.org under CC BY-SA-3.0 license.
The roads that lead to Plaza del Sol in Madrid. Taken from Madrilonia.org under CC BY-SA-3.0 license.

Now, after the government shift, the situation keeps worsening and more motives are coming up to keep on protesting. The austerity reforms that affect most Spaniards have strengthened the general discontent. The will for political and social changes towards a bigger democracy is growing. So, as it happened on last October 15, 2011, a global protest is expected to mark the first anniversary of the  15M (May 15).

The anniversary of 15M will be celebrated throughout Spain and promises a May full of citizen initiatives led mainly by neighbors and town assemblies and citizen groups. In an interview with Global Voices, Mari Angela, one of the coordinators and a member of the Las Letras neighbors assembly and of the international political group of Madrid, commented on the preparations for this year.

Since February, they have been gathering and agreeing upon an agenda, this month's program and its organization. The common objective is to achieve the political permanence on the streets of Madrid claiming the right to assembly and free speech.

The organization of such events started on February and is coordinated by an open and wide group composed by several teams, assemblies and commissions. For this occasion, four teams were put together to take the responsibility for communication and awareness, the protests of 12M (May 12), the sit-in at Plaza del Sol (in downtown Madrid) from May 12 to May 15, and the post-15M activities. The meetings take place each week at the Casablanca Social Center [es]. The Wednesday meetings are to align the issues managed by all four groups.

Poster for 12M. Taken from Madrilonia.org under a CC Licence BY-SA-3.0.
Poster for 12M. Taken from Madrilonia.org under a CC Licence BY-SA-3.0.

The calendar has various milestone dates. On May 1 a popular meal was organized followed by an economy assembly at the Malasaña neighborhood in Madrid. Various proposals were presented, some initiatives and issues were discussed; among them the rejection of the project to create a European “Las Vegas” in Spain (EuroVegas) and the need to ensure a dignified job.

On May 9, Economy students have the intention to do a sit-in in front of the Health Ministry until May 12 when they will join the rest of the protest. Also, a meeting is planned next to Madrid's Assembly on May 10 to support a popular law proposal that would make water a public good.

12M is the big Protest Day. Replicating last October 15, several protests coming from the 4 cardinal points od the city will converge at Sol. Also several people assemblies, essential in the preparation of the “indignado” anniversary, will meet during the day to arrive at downtown at 21h. At midnight, the people gathered at Sol will raise a white handkerchief as a symbol against violence, wars and economic warfare.

The great novelty this year is the organization of a Social Forum in Madrid on May 19 and 20 that includes lectures, street talks, and a joint assembly together with Sol's. On May 26 the Malasaña Assembly proposes to work on the political celebration of the birth of people assemblies in Madrid.

Sol and its surroundings will host various movements that want to communicate their proposals and initiatives throughout theme plazas: the Green Wave [es] for education will stay at Sol, the blue plaza for the defense of public water will occupy Tirso de Molina Plaza, the white one that claims public quality health will sit-in in Santa Ana. Other issues like economy, housing, unemployment, feminism, environment and culture will also have their space in the capital's downtown.

The great final assembly will take place on May 15 at 7pm at Plaza del Sol. There, every citizen can approach the Information Point stand from May 1 to May 15 to participate in the assemblies.

In the informational blog Madrilonia.org [es]:

 El 12M-15M  es mucho más que una jornada de protesta, es la posibilidad de redescubrir una confianza construida en horizontal, de tú a tú. Una confianza que sirva para poner en marcha formas colectivas de protección y sostenibilidad. Todo el mundo es necesario para pensar, proponer, imaginar, crear.

The 12M-15M is more than a protest rally, it is the possibility to rediscover the trust built horizontally, face to face. A trust that can help start colective forms of protection and sustainability. Everybody is necessary to think, propose, imagine and create.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis

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