Student protests erupt across Spain
By Jas Chohan
29-F as it has already been termed saw mass student protests around the Spanish peninsula. The latest marches took place almost in the immediate aftermath of those against the new Labour Reform Laws. These have enabled companies to sack employees with little forewarning and have also slashed redundancy packages.
The student strikes were focused on cuts in education but also the wider austerity measures in the public sector. Clearly, the Spanish student movement sees itself as part of a globally ‘lost’ generation, doomed to earn little if anything at all. Barcelona was the city that made the biggest headlines yesterday, with estimates of some 70,000 students having taken to the streets. Seven public Catalan universities and the ‘United Platform in Defence of Public Universities’ called the strike there, which shut down the city centre for hours. Large banners reading ‘We Will not Pay for their Fraud’ and ‘We Will Save Public Universities’ led the demonstration. Strong police aggression faced protestors in Barcelona though, the city whose riot police are famed nationally for their frequently heavy handed policing tactics.
In the whole region of Valencia some 134,000 secondary students alone supported the education strikes, which comparatively were more peaceful. However, only last week student protestors there faced strong police repression in similar protests against austerity measures in education. The events of the past week undoubtedly spurred on and strengthened yesterdays marches around the country, which took place in solidarity with those in Valencia and against regional police that increasingly seem to enforce law through brute force.
The momentum of protest looks to continue in many of the cities, with the students of the Autonomous University of Barcelona having called another day of strikes for Thursday. All across the country, demonstrations have occurred within the larger context and discourse of cuts that are facing the nation as a whole. Yesterday once again calls for another general strike reverberated on the streets, with students and workers uniting against the criminal measures being proposed by the conservative Popular Party (PP). The latest protests have been strong in numbers and have displayed unified fronts of societal solidarity before a cutting government, which is increasingly facing pressure on all sides.
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