18-10-2019 04:34 PM Jerusalem Timing

Anti-Crisis Protests Shake Up Spanish Elections

Anti-Crisis Protests Shake Up Spanish Elections

Protesters fuming over Spain’s economic crisis and sky-high jobless rate camped in Madrid and across the country Wednesday to vent their anger ahead of weekend local elections.

Protesters fuming over Spain's economic crisis and sky-high jobless rate camped in Madrid and across the country Wednesday to vent their anger ahead of weekend local elections.

More than 1,000 demonstrators turned out in Madrid's central Puerta de Sol square on Tuesday night and knots of protesters remained the following morning, some vowing to stay until the vote.

Others rallied in scores of cities including Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza and Palma de Mallorca, responding to calls on online social networks, television coverage, and the Real Democracy Now protest organization.

"We are tired of the unemployment, the corruption of politicians. It is always the same thing. I have no job and I don't see how I can get one any time soon," said 25-year-old Jordi Perez in Madrid.

"They have to know how we feel," Perez said.

Spain's jobless rate hit 21.19 percent in the first quarter of this year, the highest in the industrialized world. For the young the situation is more desperate: 44.6 percent unemployment for under-25s in February.

Mostly peaceful, the protests began May 15, lamenting Spain's economic crisis, politicians in general, and corruption.

Spanish economic activity picked up the pace in the first quarter of 2011 with growth of 0.8 percent from a year earlier, boosted by rising exports, official data showed Wednesday.

But domestic demand was weak, buckling under the heavy jobless rate, the National Statistics Institute report showed.