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Spanish protests overshadow polls

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 01:55

May 18 - Thousands take to the streets across Spain to protest against the traditional political parties ahead of local elections on Sunday. Nick Rowlands reports.

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Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Madrid on Tuesday to protest against a political system they say doesn't care. With local elections set to take place on Sunday, a spokesman explains the protesters' demands. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) PROTESTERS SPOKESMAN CARLOS PAREDES: "The only thing we want is that the party that is elected pays more attention to citizens and their needs so citizens can live better every day instead of worse every day. We live in a developed world in which we are supposed to live better every day because there is more technology, more means, more money, but instead,we are here protesting in order to get pension rights that our grandparents had." Similar rallies have been taking place in cities across Spain since Sunday, with people in Madrid camping out overnight on Tuesday. Protesters have renamed the square in central Madrid "Solution Square." They are calling for people not to vote for the ruling Socialist Party or the centre-right opposition in local elections on Sunday. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) PROTESTER BRUNO: "We ask people to start realising that this country's electoral law is designed to benefit these two big parties that have perpetuated as an oligarchy in power and are driving us into this economy crisis. It is this economy crisis which has caused this social crisis." The Spanish economy is faltering, triggering fears that if government spending cuts don't avert a crisis, a fourth euro zone bailout might be needed. Spain has the highest unemployment in the European Union, and youth unemployment is 45 percent. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.

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Spanish protests overshadow polls

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - 01:55