Thousands of protestors in Madrid encircled the Spanish Parliament Building on Wednesday in an attempt to push back against austerity measures instituted by the government. Over 1000 police officers in riot gear were sent in to quell the demonstrations and at least 28 people wounded and 22 arrested. A number of demonstrators suffered injuries from rubber bullets fired by the police . The protestors, who call themselves Indignados, are calling for a removal of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his entire cabinet.
Meanwhile, the anti-austerity protests this week came just days after an historic march on September 11th in Barcelona in favor of separation of Catalonia, which is the country’s most economically viable region. Over two million people from the Spanish controlled region of Catalonia demonstrated against Spanish rule. Catalonia has called for an early vote in the next few weeks on self-determination which could be a first step toward separation.
Overall, unemployment and poverty are at record high levels in Spain. Protesters are unhappy with increasing cuts to the social safety net. According to our guest, Katherine Ainger, “With 26% unemployment rate, 22% of Spanish Households now live below the poverty line and a further 30% cannot reach the end of the month . . .”
GUEST: Katherine Ainger, a writer and editor based in Brighton and Barcelona. Her article earlier this week in the Guardian newspaper was entitled, “The Spanish public won’t accept a financial coup d’etat”
Click here to read Katherine Ainger’s article.