As the ‘Indignant movement’ reaches its 3rd birthday — is Spain on the brink of an uprising?

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FROM CIBELES TO La Puerta del Sol, thousands of people demonstrated across the city of Madrid culminating in a general assembly to celebrate the third anniversary of the biggest Spanish activist movement.

Under the slogan “No borders, no debt, no fear”, thousands of people congregated at Puerta del Sol in Madrid last Saturday to celebrate the third anniversary of the civic movement 15M. The demonstration was part of the programme constructed by the collective in which, many other activities were included.

The 15-M movement was born in 2011 to protest against the system and the Spanish government — led by at the time the socialist President José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero. It began with a demonstration on the 15th of May of that year and was followed by an spontaneous campsite in Puerta del Sol — a famous square in the capital — which was broken up by the authorities a few weeks later.

The ‘silent scream’ was a symbol of the protests in 2011.

The ‘Indignant movement’ — the name they were given since their main claim was based on the manifesto “Indignez-vous” by Hessel — has grown considerably since that day. As a result of these spontaneous initiatives and due to the high participatory percentage of people, activism was turned on in Spain. Many new collectives and platforms have emerged since then with the aim of protesting and fighting against injustice. Consequently, just in 2013, more than 4.000 demonstrations took place in Madrid, some of them marked by police brutality and detentions.

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At the beginning of 2014, Human Rights Watch placed Spain among the eleven countries in the EU with serious problems in Human Rights due to: its high number of unemployed people, cuts on healthcare and other social budgets, as well as the increasing vulnerable situation of disable people and children. Furthermore, they made a call criticising the alarming number of evictions — 67,189 in 2013 — and highlighted the police brutality considered as a very problematic issue. In the same light, The Economist revealed in December 2013 that Spain was running a “high risk” of a citizen uprising due to a general malaise.


Music documentary 15M: “The clef is in Sol” in Portuguese and Spanish by the Action Committee -Scenic Arts- Music.


Text and photos by Victoria Medina.

Translated by Ana Escaso.

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