Has the Arab Spring arrived in Spain?
Since May 15, residents of many cities around Spain have been demonstrating against the country's ongoing financial crisis, its politicians, and its bankers. The spontaneous protests are the largest since the country plunged into recession in 2008, and they're made up mainly of young people who have set up camps in main squares across the country. Called "los indignados" (the indignant), the May 15 Movement, or simply 15-M, they are fueled by frustration with austerity measures, apparent indifference from politicians, and serious joblessness. Spain's unemployment rate for those under 25 stood at 43.5 percent as of February -- the highest youth unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union.These photos constitute a display of revolutionary tendencies, and things would appear to be unfolding in a way that cannot give anyone a great deal of confidence in the idea that Spain is going to continue down the same path.
To give you a sense of how out of proportion those unemployment figures are, consider this: Germany is begging for people to come here and work. Germany has rather low unemployment right now; people with technical skills are very much in demand. I don't think it's outside of the realm of possibility to suggest that many of those young workers are going to leave Spain and could end up in Southern Germany where labor demands are very high.
Revolution on the edge of the Eurozone? Stability is everything when you're trying to stagger towards prosperity for all. To be a member of the political elite in Spain right now must be a daunting thing.