Spanish activists angered by grim economic prospects planned nationwide demonstrations Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of their protest movement that inspired similar groups in other countries.
Spain is in deep economic difficulty, prompting fears it may need a bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal. It is in recession, and unemployment stands at almost 25% — the highest among the 17 countries using the euro. One in two Spaniards under the age of 25 are out of work. The conservative government has enacted deep spending cuts to reduce the national debt, but many people blame those measures for families' financial plight.
The protests began May 15 last year and drew thousands of people calling themselves the Indignant Movement. The demonstrations spread across Spain and Europe as anti-austerity sentiment grew.
The mostly young protestors aimed to occupy Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol plaza on Saturday evening and stay for three days. But authorities have warned they won't allow anyone to camp out overnight.
“We are here today to celebrate one year since the ... movement started and though we have achieved some things the situation is worse now,” said 40-year-old activist Ana Pancorvo.