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Re: DISCUSSION - Spanish protesters

Released on 2012-03-23 07:00 GMT

Email-ID 177382
Date 2011-11-11 15:42:12
The thing about protests in Europe is that Europeans can protest like it's
their job. Protests happen very frequently and security forces as well as
politicians give protesters a very long leash. And typically, protesters
remain peaceful in return. I don't know much about Spanish politics, but
from watching tons of protests in Europe, I know that it would take a lot
for any protests to rise to the level or effecting real political change.

Tactically, these are the thing we want to pay attention to for protests:

Where are the protests being held? Are the protesters wandering loosely
around in the streets or are they tightly congealed in one central spot to
show how massive they are for the cameramen? It sounds like the 15-M
started figuring out in May that amassing your forces in one spot is a
good tactic for force multiplication. Where is the largest public square
in Madrid? Is it Puerta del Sol or is there another bigger one? Do we have
pictures from those last protests to assess approximately how many people
showed up?

Is the pre-election rally ban a hard law on the books or is it just more
of a tradition? Do police have the legal authority to break up protests
leading up to the election or is it murky? How many days previous to the
election is this ban in place? Have security forces given any indication
of whether they will allow these protests or shut them down? Is there any
precedent for breaking this ban?

What do we know about 15-M? Do they have any mainstream political support?
If they don't, who's in the best position to exploit the attention they
could potentially grab with their protests?


From: "Christoph Helbling"
To: "Analyst List"
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 8:02:28 AM
Subject: DISCUSSION - Spanish protesters

There are just so many countries in Europe and each one could spark a new
'little' European crisis.
The scheduled Spanish protests next week caught my attention while a I was
writing up the calendar. The protesters already have their square, what if
a protester dies next week?
(Might be taking it too far but still worth thinking about)

Potential discussion:

Six days before the Spanish general elections on Nov. 20 protesters plan
to hold rallies at over 100 locations in Madrid, disrespecting the
pre-election rally ban. On Twitter and Facebook, some activists called for
a rally in the Puerta del Sol square on November 19, normally a day of
"reflection" ahead of the vote, during which political action is usually
The a**indignantsa** or 15-M as the protesters call the movements, started
their protests May 15 at Puerta del Sol square in Madrid protesting
against state spending cuts, unemployment and corruption. The movement
brought tens of thousands to the streets days before the local election
May 22, and made headlines by maintaining protest camps at city squares
around the country. It is a relatively well organized movement with the
Asamblea Sol that acts as organizer (therefore different from the occupy
movement). The 15-M movement was formed in reaction to Spain's high youth
unemployment (46%!) and dire future prospects for the young.
At first the movement was seen as too idealistic and heterogeneous, but it
has recently been influencing the political discourse. The politicians
are trying to appeal to its supporters ahead of the parliamentary
elections on November 20. The movements response to this is: "If citizens
should hear the parties' messages, it is also time for the parties to
listen to the citizens from whom, we fear, they are so separated"
Over the last couple of weeks Spain hasna**t received a lot of attention
because everybody concentrated on Greece and Italy. No outside officials
have been applying pressure on Spain and therefore the protesters dona**t
really blame outside forces for the miserable state the country finds
itself in. The protesters are mostly young and feel misrepresented by the
political elite. It is unlikely that the Spanish conservatives, who will
probably win the elections, are able to incorporate the wishes of the
youth that is protesting. Further, since the movements plan to disrespect
rally bans it will be interesting to see how the authorities will react.
Will they try to stop the protesters?
So far the European crisis has been on a political and financial level,
these protests could lead to an open societal crisis in Spain and spark to
other countries. Are these protests going to breed the future leaders of

Christoph Helbling