• Spain's news in English
Spaniards hold 'march of dignity' ahead of new polls
The march was the latest in a series of protests which began on March 22 and has gathered support from around the country. Photo: AFP

Spaniards hold 'march of dignity' ahead of new polls

AFP · 28 May 2016, 17:55

Published: 28 May 2016 17:55 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In the capital Madrid, participants brandishing banners reading "for a democratic rebellion by European peoples, sovereignty, dignity, solidarity," converged on central Sol Square.

The march was the latest in a series of protests which began on March 22 and has gathered support from around the country.

More than 125 political organisations, unions and social groups had urged people to take to the streets of dozens of cities including Seville and Barcelona to "show their indignation" over economic hardship.

Spain's political class has struggled to rally popular support in a country weary of years of austerity -- although Madrid did win a reprieve last week from Brussels on fines for overshooting its fiscal targets.

The political fallout from the eurozone crisis saw no party win a majority in December voting, and a second election inside six months will follow in June after all attempts to form a coalition foundered.

The ruling right-wing Popular Party topped the December poll but fell short of an absolute parliamentary majority as two new upstarts -- far-left Podemos and centrist Ciudadanos -- took votes away from the mainstream conservatives and Socialists.

Former mechanic Fedor Asuar, 81, was among the demonstrators in Madrid, waving a banner reading "impoverished grandparents, mortgaged children, unemployed grandchildren."

He said he was marching to "defend my tiny pension" and to protest at "a series of swingeing cuts in education, health..."

Protesters said they feared that the June 26 poll will hand Spain a government which will continue making cuts to public services even at a time when around one in five Spaniards are living close to the poverty line, on barely 8,000 euros ($8,400) a year.

Story continues below…

Unemployment is running at around 21 percent -- second only in Europe to debt-laden fellow EU struggler Greece.

Marchers also directed their ire at proposals to create a Transatlantic free trade framework between EU states and the United States, and spoke in favour of more humane rules governing asylum for migrants.

Yayo Herrero, a 50-year-old teacher, read out a declaration blaming the banks and the European Union for "taking away sovereignty of the countries" in the bloc" with governments forced as a result to follow "policies that go against peoples' interests and serve capital."

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available