Outraged arrive in Madrid
The six marches of Spain’s “outraged” – los indignados – converged on the capital to the warmest of receptions. José Mercurio was present in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and sent a first-hand report to A World to Win. Photos show London supporters linking up with Madrid.
Finally, they have arrived! Here they are! The leading marchers of each route reached the capital on Friday. They entered Sol about 9pm accompanied by people from the neighbourhoods and local areas in different districts who joined the march along its routes. Many more were waiting, including those who usually have "Sol" as a hub of activity in Madrid’s city centre, but also those who travelled by bus or train from 35 different cities especially to demonstrate their support.
Neighbourhood assemblies around the capital had welcomed them warmly and organised the timing of the final phase of this prolonged campaign, so that all would reach Sol square at the same moment. It was a symbolic and poetic approach that perfectly reflects the feeling and the imagination that has characterised the entire campaign.
The Indignados movement, which began last May as a campaign for real democracy, has rejected the political status quo in Spain with slogans like “They don’t represent us!”. Its demands, focusing on political transparency and a new model of participative democracy, have been debated for over three months as they camped out in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and cities and towns throughout Spain. In June they decided to “spread the movement’s ideas” far and wide. The marchers sought to break the isolation of rural areas and vanquish the deeply-seated fears that still imprison people. They wanted to tell them that everyone counts, including people without internet access who may lack information about the events in the metropolitan centres.
By ten o’clock the atmosphere was completely festive and it was time for the highlight of the day – the "narrative assembly", in which all routes told of their experiences during their marches. Those on the north eastern route, which began in Barcelona opened up by addressing everyone as “family”. Then came the turn of the eastern route from Valencia. Everyone was amazed at the political rap performance by a young boy. The crowd greeted him with shouts of "president, president!", singing and chanting: "yes, yes... you really represent us" (...seeing is believing!).
Just after ten, the crowd got news of the first "streaming" connections with Berlin, Paris, and London, who sent us emotional messages of affection and admiration, but the climax came with the connection to Syntagma Square, in central Athens. Admiration and respect for the Greek campaigners is greater than I can put into words. Marchers from the south of Spain played guitar, contributing in a special way to the happiness of this unforgettable day.
The last to speak were the routes of the North (which began in Bilbao, and La Coruña). They described how they had passed through a small village without running water. A few days later, they heard the new mayor of the village had just secured a record salary increase of 238%.
Better news came not long after, when someone from the Basque country told us about the first binding Spanish assembly in the little village of Otxandio, where people decide and the mayor is obliged to carry out the decisions of the assembly. Last but not least, was the presence of a representative of the Saharawi people, who came by boat just for the occasion and called us his "outraged" brothers.
Just to add that these illustrious visitors will camp near the Prado Museum (only the best, of course) and remain there for the duration of the activities planned for Sunday and Monday, including discussion forums in the Retiro park and a small demonstration. And remember... From north to south, from east to west, the fight continues, whatever it takes!!
24 July 2011