Inspired by Arab Spring, Spanish Protesters Defy Ban

Young demonstrators angry over lack of jobs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2011 1:26 PM CDT
Inspired by Arab Spring, Spanish Protesters Defy Ban
A man distributes free water during a demonstration in Madrid Saturday.   (AP Photo/Arturo Rodriguez)

Because regional elections take place in Spain tomorrow, today is supposed to be a national "day of reflection," with no protests or public gatherings. Try explaining that to the tens of thousands of demonstrators who continue to pack city squares in Madrid, Barcelona, and other major cities. Police didn't even attempt to move in when the midnight deadline arrived, reports the BBC. Calls for political and economic reform mount, driven by one key factor: Unemployment among young people is 42%, notes CNN.

"They want to leave us without public health, without public education, half of our youth is unemployed, they have risen the age of our retirement as well," said one protester. Noting that the protests were fueled by Twitter and Facebook groups, the Guardian asked another demonstrator whether the Arab spring had reached Europe. "You can't really compare us to people who were risking their lives by protesting," said the 23-year-old computer engineer. "But yes, you can say that we are inspired by the courage of the Arab spring." (Read more Spain stories.)

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