Spain steps up more austerity amid protests

The government is due to pass its 2013 austerity budget, which includes further salary freezes for government workers.

 27 Sep 2012
 [Photo: Protesters have gathered for a second day in a row to rally against the austerity measures in the country [Reuters]]

Thousands of protesters rallied near the Spanish parliament for a second straight night on Wednesday after a rough day on the markets again raised the spectre of a full bailout and deeper economic pain.

Shouting “Government resign!” and “We are not afraid”, demonstrators faced off against riot police in the Plaza de Neptuno, the same area of Madrid where officers beat protesters and fired rubber bullets to disperse them on Tuesday night.

“I came yesterday and I’ll come every day to say no to this system,” said Angel Alcaide, a 30-year-old engineer who carried a sign reading “Resign”.

“This government is worse than the last. It protects its privileges, its luxuries, and the people just get cuts in health and education,” said 26-year-old Carmen Lopez, who lives in London, pushed abroad, she said, by the lack of jobs for young people.

But mass protests seemed the least of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s problems as the prospect of an international rescue revived.

Spain’s borrowing costs crept back up to danger levels and the stock market plunged on Wednesday, as pressure from Catalonia, which called snap elections in a drive for greater independence, added to the gloom.

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Egypt: Walls of breaking news-views

by Mona Abaza, Jadalliyya
[Half-Mubarak/Half-Tantawi mural repainted with Amr Mousa and Ahmed Shafiq appearing in the background. Photo by Mona Abaza]
[Half-Mubarak/Half-Tantawi mural repainted with Amr Mousa and Ahmed Shafiq appearing in the background. Photo by Mona Abaza]

The Mohammed Mahmud wall remains alive and kicking through its graffiti, which is getting altered by the hour. The walls continue to be whitened thanks to the efforts of Egyptian authorities. Yet drawings keep on appearing layers after layers to cover the older ones and the white paint. Not only have the walls of Mohammed Mahmud Street become “a memorial space,” as I have noted in a previous contribution, but also a barometer of the Egyptian revolution. The murals seem to be vividly narrating the most recent political turmoil, portraying the state of the arts of the revolution. Sardonic graffiti and abundant insults against counter-revolutionary forces are re-emerging by the hour. Three recent drawings are worthy of attention.


[Half-Mubarak/Half-Tantawi mural before it was erased. Photo by Mona Abaza.]


[Half-Mubarak/Half-Tantawi mural repainted with Amr Mousa and Ahmed Shafiq appearing
in the background. Photo by Mona Abaza] Continue reading