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article imageMadrid protests: Indignados returned to the plaza today (Update)

By Anne Sewell     Sep 26, 2012 in World
Madrid - After thousands protested in the Plaza de Neptune in Madrid on Tuesday, around 100 meters from the Congress building, police became violent and eventually cleared the square.
The indignados were calling for new elections and carrying banners with the slogan "No", referring to the austerity measures being taken by the Spanish government.
Protesters are saying that a government chosen by the people that, once it reaches power, does not keep its promises, has no legitimacy. They say that winning an election does not give the government the right to act as it wants, betraying the voters who have elected it. They demand new elections and a new government.
200 riot police cleared the Plaza de Neptune and surrounding blocks, using batons and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
Local emergency services confirmed that 64 people were injured, including eight policemen. One of the wounded is apparently in a critical condition, and one of the injured policemen suffered a severe concussion.
According to El Pais, thirteen of those arrested have been detained, after the protesters tried to break through the police barrier the first time. More arrests happened during further clashes during the protest, giving a total of around 35 arrests.
Local authorities estimate that around 6,000 people took part in the protest on Tuesday, with over 1,300 riot police deployed, which is more than half of Spain's riot police force.
According to protest organizers, they will be repeating the protest on Wednesday and will once again attempt to surround the Parliament building.
RT interviewed Carlos Delclos, a sociologist at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University and writer for ROAR magazine, who states:
“What you are seeing out here right now is the Spanish - and by extension the European - citizenry reacting against austerity. Austerity right now is at a level where it’s affecting people’s daily lives. It’s affecting whether or not people can get medical attention. It’s affecting whether or not people can advance socially through education and social progress."
"What you’re seeing now is a country where an entire generation is being relegated to a class of emigrants. People that have been invested in with public money, to be educated, are now going to move out and generate wealth in other countries. That’s not a project for a country. Meanwhile, child poverty in Spain has increased exponentially."
"I think the first thing the government can do is call for a referendum on paying back the debt, and on the constitutional amendment that they made. It’s no mistake that these people are gathered here today to talk about the constitution of Spain; a constitution that has been around since the transition from the Francoist government, and it was always said that it couldn’t be touched, that it was the basis for what Spain is today."
"But they did change it without a referendum or even consulting the citizenry or submitting it to public debate, to pay back an illegitimate debt taken on by the private sector.”
Occupy Congress  Madrid September 25  2012
Occupy Congress, Madrid September 25, 2012
Update: Thousands of protesters did indeed return to Plaza de Neptune in Madrid on Wednesday. Pamphlets were circulated, recommending a sit-in protest, and demonstrators were asked not to provoke the police. So far, the event has been peaceful, with none of Tuesday's violence.
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