Spain: Thousands 'march for dignity' in Madrid

Colon Square, Madrid, March 21.

Thousands of demonstrators from across Spain gathered in Madrid’s main Colon Square on March 21 to protest against continuing harsh government austerity measures. Nine columns of demonstrators, who had been on the march for several days, converged on the plaza.

Labelled Marches for Dignity, at least 20,000 people packed Colon Square, carrying republican flags and banners calling for a general strike.

Protesters decried government financial cuts, draconian housing rights policies and high unemployment rates. Carrying banners reading “Food, jobs and a roof with dignity — working for a general strike”, protesters engulfed the area.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced new social welfare support measures last month and touted his government’s economic record to try to woo back disillusioned voters turning to anti-austerity parties.

Rajoy’s right-wing People’s Party has been claiming economic recovery before general elections set for November, raising the government’s growth forecast for the year to 2.4% from 2%.

Despite PP claims, the Spanish economy remains in poor shape, with the unemployment rate hitting 23.7%. The government has slashed spending on public services as part of its austerity drive.

[Abridged from the Morning Star.]

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