Published on
Common Dreams

Police Turn Spanish Parliament into 'Fortress' as Numbers Swell at 'Occupy Congress' Protest

Common Dreams staff

Police in Spain blocked off access to the Spanish Parliament Tuesday in anticipation of "Occupy Congress," a mass protest expecting to draw thousands to the streets over drastic austerity cuts in the nation. The building "took on the appearance of a heavily guarded fortress," according to the Associated Press, ahead of the protest expected to start around 1730 GMT.

As protesters began gathering around the Parliament, Madrid's regional Interior Ministry delegation said up to 1,300 police would be deployed. Protest leaders said they have no plans to enter the building -- only to march around it.

Protest numbers continue to swell around parliament, but no confrontations with police have been reported. Protest leaders said the action will be peaceful. A livestream of the event can be viewed here.

Demonstrators are calling for entirely new elections in the country, saying the ruling Popular Party misled voters to get elected last November. The current government has continued to make extreme cuts to the public budget in a bid to win further bank and finance bailout loans from its European partners.

Austerity measures in the country have included public sector pay cuts, privatization of public assets, tax increases, and a raise in retirement age by two years.

Spain is in the middle of its second recession in two years and faces a 25 percent unemployment rate.

The government, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, is expected to unveil a new batch of cuts on Thursday when it presents a draft budget for 2013.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Share This Article

More in: