Revolucion!

“We having a revolution because the government is increasing our taxes and we have no job opportunities and there are cuts in education and our public services,” so said one of the men I stood next to during the beginning of a protest near the parliament building in Madrid.

“We want the government and the king to rewrite the constitution because it isn’t fair to the people,” the man continued.

The protest took place this evening (Saturday) beginning around 6 p.m., as people began to fill up the streets. Madrid police were ready for action, and the national police wore their riot gear. A helicopter circled above.

As the protesters were getting their signs ready to hold up and TV cameras were set up, journalists walked around with cameras slung over their shoulders, and there I was, right there in the moment.

“When people start walking this way, you should get ready to run away fast,” the man told me. On Tuesday, he saw police charge the crowd and fired rubber bullets at demonstrators, and he expected it to happen again tonight.

News reports said thirty-two people were injured, and several people were arrested during Tuesday’s rally.

I climbed up on the base of a

The National Police

Lions

statue so I could see a bit better, and I got some good photos of the action.

However, I have promised not to put myself in harm’s way throughout this one year journey, so when thousands of people started walking toward the rally, and blew ear-splitting whistles, I decided it might be a good time to leave the immediate area. One man I spoke to told me the words the crowd shouted were, “fire them, fire them.” “The government is bad,” he said, just before I took leave and walked across the street.

One of the men I spoke to took off on his bicycle to buy himself a drink and he came back with a coke for me. Friendly people here in Spain.

For further understanding of the unhappiness shared by many Spaniards, I learned that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s administration plans to cut spending by $51.7 billion. To do this, he’ll freeze salaries of public workers and reduce unemployment benefits. The common man, however isn’t the only group to feel the cuts, as the royal family will lose their funding by four percent.

Okay, that’s enough reporting for today. Remember, I gave that up? I actually went on the route like a good tourist before the distraction by angry Spaniards, and took a bus tour throughout the gorgeous city. There is so much to see in Madrid, that I will need to return after spending some time in the Basque area. The architecture, art museums and statues are stunning and only one day just plain and simple won’t satisfy my appetite. I did spend time in the Museo Nacional Del Prado and viewed Spanish, German, Flemish, British, Dutch and Italian paintings.

I saw some Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya to name a few. There were so many rooms, and departments that you cannot see them all in one afternoon, or even in one day. So, that will be on my list to return to later.

 

6 Responses to Revolucion!

  1. Laureen,
    What an experience! Glad you took leave before you got trampled. Isn’t the Prado wonderful. There was shop on the Calle Gran Via that had a statue of an old man that I still regret not buying. I see the apartment Torre de Madrid in which I stayed is still there at the intersection of Paseo de Espana and the Gran Via. Hope you get back to see more of the City.

    • Hi Sumi,
      My hotel is on the Gran Via. There’s so much to see here, that I will need to come back. It’s a beautiful city and so full of life. The hotel is really old, and funky, but I love it. There is an old, old elevator, that every time I step into it, I’m hoping I’ll get out.

  2. Laureen….we are glad you are not making us worry about your safety ! Your gift for writing takes us along on your journey…..and we wont you to be safe .
    Paula and Bud

  3. Laureen, Ex-Pat, Adventuress Suprema! You go, girl! m-e

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