Thursday, September 01, 2011

In Spain: Woken up at 3AM in Madrid

This is outside the Hotel Catalonia Plaza, Calle Atocha, Madrid, Time: 02:57

I was suddenly woken up to some strange noises. What is it? Where is it coming from? I could hear the soft chanting of ARIBA, ARIBA, ARIBA. I thought I was dreaming but realized that I am actually awake, and that the noises were coming from outside. The sounds became louder so I jumped out of the bed and walked to the balcony and opened the door. There below I saw a few hundred people sitting on the streets and they were chanting ARIBA and some other Spanish phrases.

Aha. It is one of those young peoples’ protests again sprouting all around the city. And this time they planned to do it at freaking 3AM right in front of our hotel. Great.

By this time the group has become quite boisterous that other building occupants were slowly coming out of their windows and balconies to check out what is going on. I decided to take a picture of this protest-at-a-very-unholy-hour for posterity’s sake.

Calle Atocha, where our hotel is located goes directly to Puerta del Sol, the heart of Madrid. It’s just a few minutes’ walk, quite handy, probably the reason why they chose to meet up here. Then the crowd started moving towards the direction of Puerta del Sol. I guess tomorrow is going to be a big day in the city, a culmination of all protests perhaps. Whatever. All I knew at that moment was that I am going back to bed!

Spain has the highest unemployment in Europe, about 21.3% and youth unemployment has risen up to 46%, hence the protests against the government demanding an overhaul in politics and soceity.

In my next entry I will show you Puerto del Sol where all the angry youth protesters convened. They took over the square by camping on it for several days.

Here are a few pictures of the pockets of protests in Madrid during the day:

Local police on alert.

The protesters occupying the streets.

Travel Period: June 2011
Destination: Madrid, Spain

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