Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flying pickets at midnight: general strike in Madrid

Today's #N14 general strike is a one day strike, beginning not with pickets in place for 9am, the start of the average working day, but at midnight - ie over four hours ago. In fact it started with a rally at 8.30pm last night in Puerta del Sol, called by CC.OO, Spain's largest trade union. After speeches about Rajoy, labour reform, the Troika, capitalism, unemployment, and eviction-prompted suicides;(more on all this later, as it's way past my bedtime), about 4,000 people went to CC.OO headquarters for some rhetorical and actual nourishment - more speeches, plus piles of free bocadillos, coffee, non-alcoholic lager, and coca cola, the necessary fuel for a night of flying pickets.

Everyone piled up on flags, stickers, fire-crackers, horns, whistles and flyers, and at 11.45pm, set off to shut down the capital of Spain.

As I write, I think it's fair to say that every ATM machine and shop window in Madrid now looks like this (although some of them have superglue and spraypaint on, too). The stickers say 'CLOSED: GENERAL STRIKE' and 'WE ARE LEFT WITH NO FUTURE':

After the violent clashes following the attempts to 'occupy congress' in September, the authorities obviously aren't taking any chances this time. Nothing like two layers of fencing and one layer of riot police to demonstrate the health your representative democracy is in:

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