Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-austerity protests and strikes

Activists battle with police during violent clashes in Lisbon, as protests against austerity sweep across Europe.

10:21pm UK, Wednesday 14 November 2012
Lisbon

Video: Protests Across Europe Against Austerity

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General strike

Rome is being brought to a standstill as anti-austerity protesters take on riot police in the streets.

A wave of anti-austerity anger is sweeping across Europe with general strikes in Spain and Portugal and walkouts in Greece and Italy – grounding flights, closing schools and shutting down transport.

Millions of workers have been taking part in the dozens of co-ordinated protests in a so-called European Day of Action and Solidarity against spending cuts and tax hikes. Continue reading

Wave of Evictions Leads to Homeless Crisis in Spain

Francisco Rodríguez Flores in a building where he and his family live that has been taken over by the homeless. It had been vacant for three years.

By , The New York Times, November 11, 2012

SEVILLE, Spain — The first night after Francisco Rodríguez Flores, 71, and his wife, Ana López Corral, 67, were evicted from their small apartment here after falling behind on their mortgage, they slept in the entrance hall of their building. Their daughters, both unemployed and living with them, slept in a neighbor’s van.

“It was the worst thing ever,” Mrs. López said recently, studying her hands. “You can’t image what it felt like to be there in that hall. It’s a story you can’t really tell because it is not the same as living it.”

Things are somewhat better now. The Rodríguezes are among the 36 families who have taken over a luxury apartment block here that had been vacant for three years. There is no electricity. The water was recently cut off, and there is the fear that the authorities will evict them once again. But, Mrs. López says, they are not living on the street — at least not yet.

The number of Spanish families facing eviction continues to mount at a dizzying pace — hundreds a day, housing advocates say. The problem has become so acute that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has promised to announce emergency measures on Monday, though what they may be remains unclear.

While some are able to move in with family members, a growing number, like the Rodríguezes, have no such option. Their relatives are in no better shape than they are, and Spain has virtually no emergency shelter system for families.

For some, the pressure has been too much to bear. In recent weeks, a 53-year-old man in Granada hanged himself just hours before he was to be evicted, and a 53-year-old woman in Bilbao jumped to her death as court officials arrived at her door. Continue reading

European General Strikes announced: “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”

Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7

ATHENS – Agence France Presse

EPA photo

EPA photo

Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.

“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.

October/31/2012

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#14N: European General Strike

29 October 2012

Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci! Continue reading

Spain prepares more austerity, protesters battle police

A demonstrator struggles with Spanish National Police riot officers outside the the Spanish parliament in Madrid September 25, 2012. Protesters clashed with police in Spain's capital on Tuesday as the government prepares a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget that will be announced on Thursday. REUTERS-Sergio Perez

By Tracy Rucinski and Paul Day, REUTERS

MADRID | Tue Sep 25, 2012

(Reuters) – Protesters clashed with police in Spain’s capital on Tuesday as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity measures for the 2013 budget to be announced on Thursday.

Thousands gathered in Neptune plaza, a few meters from El Prado museum in central Madrid, where they formed a human chain around parliament, surrounded by barricades, police trucks and more than 1,500 police in riot gear.

Police fired rubber bullets and beat protesters with truncheons, first as protesters were trying to tear down barriers and later to clear the square. The police said at least 22 people had been arrested and at least 32 injured, including four policemen.

As lawmakers started to leave the parliament shortly after 2100 GMT in official cars or by foot, a few hundred people were still demonstrating in front of the building. Most dispersed shortly afterwards.

The protest, promoted over the Internet by different activist groups, was younger and more rowdy than recent marches called by labor unions. Protesters said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education.

“My annual salary has dropped by 8,000 euros and if it falls much further I won’t be able to make ends meet,” said Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest. He said he was considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life. Continue reading

Spanish police arrest 5 union members over ‘Robin Hood’ supermarket looting

By Associated Press, August 10, 2012

MADRID — Spanish police have arrested seven left-wing union activists for their alleged role in a “Robin Hood”-style looting of a supermarket made to highlight the plight of people suffering through the country’s recession.A handful of activists from the southern Andalusian Workers’ Union made off with nine trolleys full of food from the supermarket in the southern town of Ecija and left without paying on Tuesday. They later gave the food to poor, unemployed people.

Sanchez Gordillo has boasted that his town has full employment thanks to the farm cooperatives his office has established for the jobless.

Police said one person was arrested during an eviction Friday of union members who were squatting on Defense Ministry land near Ecija that is lying fallow to demand it be given to hard-pressed farmers.

Four others were arrested elsewhere Friday, and two Thursday, although all but two have been released on bail pending legal action.

100,000 march in Spain over austerity

May 13, 2012 Having their say ... demonstrators raise their hands during the protest in Madrid.

At least 100,000 Spaniards angered by grim economic prospects and the political handling of the international financial crisis have turned out for street demonstrations in the country’s cities, marking the one-year anniversary of a movement that inspired similar pressure groups in other countries.

Tens of thousands of protesters in Madrid flooded into the central Puerta del Sol plaza in the evening and aimed to stay for three days. But authorities warned they wouldn’t allow anyone to camp out overnight, and up to 2000 riot police were expected to be on duty.

“I’m here to defend the rights that we’re losing and for the young people who have it so tough,” 57-year-old middle school teacher Roberto Alonso said. “They’re better educated than ever. But they don’t have work. They don’t have anything. They’re behind and they’ll stay that way.”

At least 20,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona. Marches were also held in Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. Sympathisers held protests in other European cities. Continue reading

Spain burns as strikes bring nation to its knees

Nine injured and scores are arrested as austerity protest descends into violence

by Alasdair Fotheringham, The Independent (UK)

Friday, 30 March 2012 — A nationwide general strike fuelled by a groundswell of anger against crippling unemployment levels and severe ongoing austerity cuts culminated in dozens of large-scale evening demonstrations across Spain yesterday.

Approximately a quarter of a million protesters took to the streets in Barcelona, with some fringe groups attacking police vans and smashing shop windows until late into the evening. In contrast Madrid’s almost equally large demonstration, where the crowds of chanting, whistling protestors filled the emblematic Puerto del Sol square and surrounding streets to bursting point, was reported as being totally peaceful.

“There’s lots of people here, but we need even more, this country is going through an awful situation and its going to get worse,” young protester Luis Ferrer, on the dole for three months, told The Independent in Madrid’s demonstration.

“If we don’t make ourselves heard now, we never will. I don’t think we’re going to end up like Greece, but they’re using this recession to take away our rights as workers.It’s just an excuse.”

“The labour reforms they want to bring in are terrible and our wages are awful,” Jose, a protestor in his twenties, added. “They want us to work more and more, put up taxes too and that’s just not on.” Continue reading

Democracy Now: Toma la Plaza!, Protests Spreading Across Spain

Maria Carrion & Ivan Martinoz on Pro-Democracy, Toma la Plaza!, Protests Spreading Across Spain

May 27, 2011

DemocracyNow.org -
Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters are demonstrating across the country calling for better economic opportunities, a more representative electoral system, and an end to political corruption. Democracy Now! speaks with independent journalist Maria Carrion and protest spokesperson Ivan Martinoz in Madrid. Continue reading