Friday, September 02, 2011

Protest Camping at Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain

The weekend Blondine and I were visiting Madrid was the culmination of the youth protests against the Spanish government. The main issue is high unemployment in the youth sector which has risen to a staggering 46% (nation overall is 21.3%).

Foto on top is the Royal Post Office, the current seat of the office of the President of Madrid and its front square, the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), a protest campsite last May and June 2011.

Last night I was watching a documentary about the youth in Italy who believes that being on TV is more important than being at school. Many recent graduates in Italy are having a hard time finding jobs, and if they do find, the salaries are between 500 and 1,000 Euros. That’s just pocket money... how can you live on with that? If this is the situation in Italy, Spain is worse. It’s hard to imagine.

At Puerta del Sol where the youth camped to voice out their frustrations at the government, I was inundated by an avalanche of emotions.

I felt bad and sorry for the young people protesting.
I felt guilty that I have money to spend for a long weekend in Madrid while they are fighting for jobs.
I am annoyed that I couldn’t see the beauty of Puerta del Sol because they are camping everywhere.
I was surprised at how big the protest movement is.
I was shocked at how serious the problem is.
I am grateful for what I have.
I had a sundry of emotions.

Here is Puerta del Sol looking like a backpacker’s haven:

The monument to King Charles III towers above the plastic tents.

Here we are with the foto on top with our souvenir shot at Puerta del Sol.

Some interesting articles to read about the protests in Spain:

Youth protests sweep as Spain unemployment soars (NPR.org)

Protesters defy ban with anti-government rallies (BBC)

Protests against the Pope evidence as Spain's youth are losing faith and patience - (youths were protesting at the cost involved on the Pope’s visit which could have been spent somewhere else, like subsidizing the unemployed or creating jobs)

The day before we left Puerta del Sol was again back to normal. See the 2 pictures below:

No more a camping site. It is back to business at Puerta del Sol but the policia is not taking chances, they are very active doing surveillance.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia because I forgot to take a foto of this.

Trivia: Did you know that Puerta del Sol is the symbolic centre of Spain? This is where the radial network begins. Where all roads start: The Kilometer Zero

Many (tourist) bus tours starts and stops here as well.

Travel Period: June 2011
Destination: Madrid, Spain



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