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Podemos Draws 100,000 For Anti-Austerity Rally Madrid

21st Century Wire says…

Inspired by the success of Syriza in Greece, Europe’s other sick child, young crowds hope to sideline the Establishment’s political oligarchy in Spain…

1-Podemos-2
Ashifa Kassam
Guardian

Four years ago, Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square belonged to los indignados – an impromptu revolt of thousands, camping out for weeks and rallying against a political establishment felt to be out of sync with the people.

On Saturday, up to 100,000 people again filled the square, determined to show the world that 2015 would be the year that the change demanded by the indignados would come about.

Less than a week after Greece elected an aggressively anti-austerity government, the leaders of Spain’s own insurgent force, Podemos (We Can), urged supporters to take to the streets in a show of strength as it embarks on a tumultuous electoral campaign. “Tick tock, tick tock,” chanted thousands as they occupied the broad avenues of central Madrid, counting down to a year packed with municipal, regional and general elections. Just a year since its creation, Podemos has vaulted to the top of opinion polls, threatening to bring an end to the bipartisan political system that has governed Spain since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.

“Greece gives us hope,” said Victor García, as he waved a large Greek flag in a sea of purple Podemos flags. “Things were going poorly there before. Now that the people have power, it can only get better,” said the 27-year-old doctor.

Led by ponytailed Pablo Iglesias, 36, the movement’s popularity has rocketed as Spaniards see themselves reflected in his message of a disconnect between the economic recovery touted by the governing People’s party and their daily lives. Pointing to persistent unemployment, evictions and growing inequality, Iglesias’s promises to reverse austerity and tackle corruption have struck a chord.

“The current situation has to change,” said Paloma Gómez. She attended the rally for the sake of her two children, both of whom had moved to Germany three years ago hoping to find work. “Our politicians are not just robbing us, they’re pushing our youth out of the country.”…

Continue this story at The Guardian

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