Massive Protests in Spain Continued, but Socialist Party Faced Blow at Ballot-Box

On Saturday, the Daily Mail reported on continuing protests in Spain, a sign of anger at widespread unemployment and economic woes in advance of major elections. Protesters camped out and said they wereinspired by the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, and frustrated by what they claimed was government ineptitude. 

An order by the Spanish government banning protests after midnight last night was held up to ridicule when tens of thousands of demonstrators continued protesting after the curfew supposedly kicked in.

...But as city clocks chimed the beginning of a new day, thousands of demonstrators condemning government spending cuts - stood their ground. Some kept quiet, many with sticky tape over their mouths in a gesture to illustrate they were being gagged by the ban.

But the protests, despite their youthful nature and their demand for government action, did not herald an electoral victory for a progressive cause. Instead, Spain's ruling Socialist party--which had implemented "austerity measures" due to the economic crisis-- suffered heavy losses to the center-right People's Party.

 Reports the Guardian, this morning:

 

The PP grabbed several traditional Socialist strongholds for themselves, including the city of Seville and the Castilla-La Mancha region, both plagued with high unemployment.

In the aggregated municipal vote nationwide, the PP had a 10 percentage-point lead over the Socialists, who have not lost so badly in municipal elections since democracy returned to Spain in 1978 after the Franco dictatorship.

Spaniards had been patient during four years of economic trouble, but this wore out in the run-up to the elections when tens of thousands of mostly young protesters took to the streets in cities around the country.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at May 23, 2011, 3:46am

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