Last week, following a massive protest march through Madrid, 400 protesters camped out in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square as part of the Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now) grassroots movement. Despite numerous police attempts to chase the protesters away, thousands of people started migrating to the square out of solidarity. Now, over a week later, the protesters number 25,000 strong per day alone, 3,000 of which have been sleeping in the square every night.
What makes this such an extraordinary event? The demonstration had been organized via text messages, Facebook and Twitter–yet another illustration of the power of mankind to achieve great things, even with something so simple as a computer or a phone.
Democracia Real Ya, formed by “18 or 20 deadbeats with a budget of a thousand euros”, is fighting for the Spanish government to own up to its responsibility for the country’s economic crash and staggering unemployment rates. The movement’s motto, “We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers”, is a direct response to the inability of Spain’s government to rein in the economy from its steady downward slide–and the protest itself is putting even more pressure on the country’s upcoming elections.
Though Spain’s government has issued several ultimatums to the protesters to leave the square, a decisive showdown on Wednesday May 18th–in which the police, despite ordering the protesters to evacuate by midnight, ultimately did nothing–has left them powerless against the sheer numbers and conviction of their people. According to an interview with Madrid teacher Sam Robson, 70 percent of people polled on television were in favor of the camp, and firefighters have refused to take down protest banners that cover commercial advertisements.
We at PeaceKeeper definitely wish we were in Spain right now to see history in the making! All 25,000 (per day!!) are in our thoughts and we hope that Spain’s government receives the justice it deserves.
The PeaceKeeper Team
(Writer: Jessica Smith. Picture courtesy Shawsblog.
For more information about PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, visit www.iamapeacekeeper.com.)