As the evictions of the past year continue to rise, Spaniards are increasing the protests that have characterized the four months since the Catalan election. Tens of thousands flooded Madrid’s central Plaza de Colon on Tuesday night for the 12th demonstration, most of them from Catalonia.
From the beginning, the protests have revolved around a single point of frustration, one that has been simmering since the banks crashed the Spanish economy in 2008: that the banks should be forced to reimburse, in full, the huge sum of money that Spaniards who lost homes through evictions have been left with.
And it wasn’t just the banks who were being targeted. Police tear-gassed demonstrators who were protesting the eviction of a pregnant woman from her home.
Another display of the growing conflict between Catalans and a fellow Catalonian on Tuesday night was the creation of a new online discussion platform for protesters and the response by radicals in Barcelona and Barcelona-based Anarchist and other anarchist groups.
The development of “hieragosa,” or half-friend, protesters, who are encouraged to accept half-already-decided friends on what is essentially Facebook, became another tool in the social media game being played by the street and the ruling parties.
So powerful has the movement been that it even inspired the 10-party Catalan Socialist Party to create its own “platform for the people.” They spoke passionately about the issues on the plaza as they attempted to hand out banners from a truck in the rain.
The protests are a movement that no single party can co-opt. As the leaders of the Spanish political parties fear, people are still angry, and they want to say, with their bodies, who are to blame for this and why.