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Spaniards Surround Congress in "Day of Liberation" Against Austerity

As country's unemployment reaches record highs, demonstrators call for a government in which "the majority decides"

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

As Spanish unemployment reached record highs Thursday, thousands of Spaniards will march on Congress to denounce the government's crippling austerity policies and to call for a new government in which "the majority decides."

Thursday's demonstration is the latest in a string of demonstrations fueled by mounting anger towards the politics which have prolonged the country's ongoing recession and unemployment, which the Spanish National Institute of Statistics announced Thursday reached a record high of 27.2 percent.

The action was organized by the platform "En Pie"—translating to "on your feet"—which also was behind the national mobilization against austerity last September 25.

On their website the group details their plans for the "Day of Liberation," with protests beginning at 5 PM (local time in Madrid) at three major plazas in the city, including the central Puerta del Sol, and working their way toward the Congress. Authorities expected 8,000 demonstrators to take part in the protest.

Their declared goal is "asedio y liberacion definitiva del Congreso de los Diputados", which roughly translates to "a siege and final liberation of Congress," calling ultimately for the dissolution of both houses, followed by "a constituent process in which the majority will decide on a political, economic and social model" for the country.

"Our premise is the peaceful nature of the popular movement," they add.

Ahead of the demonstration, Madrid police announced the deployment of 1,400 officers and early reports indicate that a number of arrests have already been made.


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La Vanguardia is blogging live from the demonstration here.

You can watch a live stream from the protest here.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that more austerity measures would be announced on Friday.

Wednesday evening, over 200 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) students reportedly erected a rail and roadblock in Barcelona to protest against university fee hikes, layoffs and the state of education.

On Sunday, thousands of Spanish health workers took to the streets in protest against the government's plans to privatize a number of the country's health care facilities.


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