Barcelona based writer Sofia Tipaldou on how the European day of action went in Spain
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the demos of the second general strike during this year – the eighth to date during Spain's post-Franco democratic history.
The unions declared that the participation reached over 76 percent.The highest percentages were in Catalunya, Asturias, famous for the recent the miner's struggle, and Galicia (80 percent), followed by Andalucía (80 percent), Cantabria (79 percent), Madrid, and Valencia (78 percent).
Some 9.19 out of 14.23 million wage-earners went on strike, and 2.26 million only performed minimal services, according to the unions. That leaves only 2.79 million who went to work as if it were a normal day. Nevertheless, the number of participants was 12 percent less than in March 29th strike.
The sectors with the highest participation were agriculture, livestock, and construction, followed by transport, waste collection, commerce, and the media. Also public transport and wholesale markets were paralyzed in many cities. The largest impact of the strike was registered in industry and in culture.
According to the labour union CGT, more than 60 percent of shops in the service and business sector was shut down. Those that did open were practically empty of consumers. The unions called this ‘a big lecture the people are giving at the capitalist system’.
The general strike's day concluded with massive demos all around the country. ‘Against the cuts, against the labour reforms, against the social pact. No at the payment of the debt’ read the banner of the labour unions CGT, CNT, SO, Coordinadora Sindical, and COBAS at Madrid's demo. The slogan of CCOO and UGT was ‘They leave us without future. They are responsible. There are solutions’.
One million participed in Madrid and Barcelona according to the labour unions, 110,000 in Barcelona and 35,000 in Madrid, according to the police. The aerial photos taken in Madrid and Barcelona today speak by themselves.
In Barcelona two parallel demonstrations took place. One was convoked by the biggest labour unions UGT and CCOO and the other one by the movement 15M, social assemblies, and the labour unions CGT, CNT, and others. The demo ended with violent incidents between the demonstrators and the police, after demonstrators burned two police cars.
In Madrid, the group 25-S Surround the Congress of the Deputies after the end of the demo, where some of them got into clashes with the police, while others remained there peacefully with the intention to ‘welcome the deputies the following morning’.
The day ended with 142 detained (196 during March 29th strike) and 74 injured, 43 of which police (84 during March 29th strike, 56 of which police).
It was sad to see the photo of a 13-year old boy from Tarragona with his head covered in blood as a result of police intervention. Even more sad is the fact that the public television systematically under-reports public protest, although it has now reached a point that makes it difficult to hide. The question now is: can the Spanish government turn a blind eye to this strike as well?