Read our continuing coverage of the protests here.
Some 10,000 protesters gathered in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square Wednesday to demand jobs, economic equality, and “real democracy” in the fourth day of protests that mimic the Middle East uprisings.
“La Puerta del Sol in Madrid is now the country’s Tahrir Square, and the Arab Spring has been joined by what is now bracing to become a long European Summer,” writes Pablo Ouziel in Political Affairs.
Spaniards are protesting ahead of the upcoming elections, when they will vote for new municipal councils and regional governments across the country in hopes of replacing policies they’ve largely been unhappy with.
Much of the movement has been coordinated by the youth organization Democracia Real Ya online, which has used the rallying cry: “We're not merchandise in the hands of bankers and politicians!”
Protesters gathered not only in Madrid but also in the cities of Sevilla, Granada and Valencia. Although a large segment of the population did not participate, many demonstrators referred to the protests as a “Spanish Revolution.”
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's ruling Socialist Party said they were “alarmed” by the protesters, fearing them to be disaffected left-wing supporters who would abandon the party on election day.
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative Popular Party, which is expected to make huge gains in the elections, said he understood the protesters' motives.
This post has been updated.