SPAIN: Millions of students strike

Issue 

On March 26, the Sindicato de Estudiantes (Spanish School Student's Union), together with other student organisations, called a highly successful student general strike against the war in Iraq. More than 90% of high school and university students took part. There were demonstrations in more than 70 towns throughout Spain, in which a total of more than 1 million people mobilised.

This was the fourth student general strike called by the Sindicato de Estudiantes against the US-led war of aggression against Iraq. The anti-war movement is growing and each successive mobilisation has been more militant. For the first time, the March 26 mobilisation included a massive presence of university students.

The biggest demonstration was in Madrid, with around 250,000 students marching. Other big protests took place in Barcelona (more than 150,000), Seville (30,000), Valencia (25,000) and Bilbao (10,000).

The massive peaceful mobilisation of young people was the best reply the movement could have made to the pro-war Spanish government's attempts to intimidate the movement.

In Madrid and around the country, the students were joined by representatives of the United Left, Spain's major left party, and major Spanish trade union federations, including the Workers' Commission (CCOO) and the General Union of Workers (UGT). As the marches passed through city streets, many older people joined the demonstration.

An indication of the militant anti-war mood was provided by the slogans that were chanted, such as: "It isn't humanitarian, it is imperialist" and "No more blood for oil". The Peoples Party government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Azner was a target of many banners and chants, such as "Whose fault is it? It is the fault of the PP government" and "If you have the guts, call early elections". There were also slogans denouncing police repression of the movement.

A common demand of all the demonstrations was that the CCOO and the UGT call a 24-hour general strike against the war, in order to force the Azner government to resign.

[Visit the Sindicato de Estudiantes web site at <http://www.sindicatodeestudiantes.org>.]

From Green Left Weekly, April 9, 2003.
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