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Published on June 27th, 2011 | by David Christie
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Indignados protest in Granada, Spain"]Indignados protest in Granada, Spain[/caption] The movement of the ‘indignados’ or ‘indignant ones’ in Spain has recently found a new outlet in stopping banks from repossessing peoples' homes.  The original indignados demonstrations were a protest against high unemployment, and were made up mostly of young people, due to the fact that unemployment has hit the young particularly hard in Spain.  The demonstrations involved an occupation of the central square in Madrid (inspired by the occupation of Tahrir Square in the Egyptian revolution), and took place in the run up to local elections in which Spain’s ruling Socialist Party suffered heavy losses.  The protesters, however, reject both the Socialists and the opposition right-wing Peoples' Party, and urged people not to vote. In Britain, with 250,000 people protesting against government cuts in March this year, unemployment still high, and with the unions gearing up for a fight with the government at the end of this month, could protests on the scale of the indignado movement emerge here?  It is unlikely at this stage.  Spain is experiencing a higher level of economic pain than Britain, with the Spanish rate of youth unemployment at 45%, in comparison with the UK's 20% (figures from this Channel 4 News report). For a movement on the scale of Spain’s indignados to emerge in Britain, the economic situation would have to deteriorate. But even if another economic catastrophe (perhaps caused by a Eurozone debt crisis) is avoided, there are still plenty of people in this country who are 'indignant' at the present economic situation.  The Arab Spring and the global economic crisis have created an atmosphere in which new forms of protest can flourish.  Like the indignados in Spain, UK Uncut (who support the public sector strikes that will take place on 30 June) are decentralised, operate outside mainstream parliamentary politics and tap into a wide sense of anger at how politicians have dealt with the economic crisis. In the coming years we could see the new forms of protest have more of an impact around the world.

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Movement of the ‘indignados’ – could it happen here?

Indignados protest in Granada, Spain

Indignados protest in Granada, Spain

The movement of the ‘indignados’ or ‘indignant ones’ in Spain has recently found a new outlet in stopping banks from repossessing peoples’ homes.  The original indignados demonstrations were a protest against high unemployment, and were made up mostly of young people, due to the fact that unemployment has hit the young particularly hard in Spain.  The demonstrations involved an occupation of the central square in Madrid (inspired by the occupation of Tahrir Square in the Egyptian revolution), and took place in the run up to local elections in which Spain’s ruling Socialist Party suffered heavy losses.  The protesters, however, reject both the Socialists and the opposition right-wing Peoples’ Party, and urged people not to vote.

In Britain, with 250,000 people protesting against government cuts in March this year, unemployment still high, and with the unions gearing up for a fight with the government at the end of this month, could protests on the scale of the indignado movement emerge here?  It is unlikely at this stage.  Spain is experiencing a higher level of economic pain than Britain, with the Spanish rate of youth unemployment at 45%, in comparison with the UK’s 20% (figures from this Channel 4 News report).

For a movement on the scale of Spain’s indignados to emerge in Britain, the economic situation would have to deteriorate. But even if another economic catastrophe (perhaps caused by a Eurozone debt crisis) is avoided, there are still plenty of people in this country who are ‘indignant’ at the present economic situation.  The Arab Spring and the global economic crisis have created an atmosphere in which new forms of protest can flourish.  Like the indignados in Spain, UK Uncut (who support the public sector strikes that will take place on 30 June) are decentralised, operate outside mainstream parliamentary politics and tap into a wide sense of anger at how politicians have dealt with the economic crisis.

In the coming years we could see the new forms of protest have more of an impact around the world.

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