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Anti-austerity rage intensified in Madrid, as protesters surrounded the parliament Tuesday night in a sign of mounting frustration towards the right-wing government. Their demands included the resignation of top officials with new elections, the halt to austerity measures, and the rewriting of the Spanish Constitution. The protesters charged the government with theft and criminal activity for implementing harsh austerity measures, hiking taxes, record unemployment and allowing mass evictions of unemployed families on a daily basis.
As thousands converged outside the gates of parliament, hundreds of police clashed with protesters, detaining and beating many. Organizers of the action were harassed and intimidated by the police weeks before September 25th. Activists were detained, assembly meetings broken up and a cultural center was raided and shut down.
The Spanish government, with help of the mainstream media, hyped the event as a possible coup d’etate. Nearly 2,000 police officers were deployed to prevent the protesters from reaching the parliament. Despite the main unions withdrawing their support, it’s estimated close to 10,000 people attended. The call to surround the congress brought out Spaniards from all walks of life despite police repression to prevent activists from mobilizing.
On numerous occasions, the police pushed and shoved us as we tried to film. Other journalists were beaten and injured by rubber bullets.
Story produced by Jihan Hafiz and Jairo Vargas Martin.