(AFP) – May 20, 2012
MADRID — Spain's "indignant" protest movement against economic inequality and spending cuts continues to enjoy widespread support a year after it was launched, a poll published on Sunday showed.
Overall 68 percent of Spaniards said they had sympathy for the movement, compared to 66 percent who expressed that opinion in June 2011 just after it was born with the establishment of a sprawling encampment at Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square, according to the survey published in El Pais.
Even more of those surveyed, 78 percent, said the "indignant" protesters "are right", compared to 81 percent who felt this way in June of last year.
The Metroscopia poll was carried out on May 16-17, just after the protesters wrapped up four days of demonstrations in 80 cities and towns across the country on May 15 to mark the birth of their Internet-fueled movement a year ago.
Police estimate about 30,000 people took part in the first protest on May 12 in Madrid. In Barcelona, Spain's second city, police estimate the turnout on the first night was 45,000 people.
In the early hours of each morning of the four days of anniversary protests, police cleared Madrid's Puerta del Sol square of dozens of activists determined to defy the city hall and keep a permanent presence through the night.
Dubbed 15-M, after its birth date on May 15, 2011, the movement has since inspired similar protests, from Britain to the United States' Occupy Wall Street.
A year after the movement's birth, Spaniards have even more to protest: the country returned to recession during the first quarter and the unemployment rate has soared to 24.4 percent -- and 52 percent for the young.
And Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government, in power since December, has implemented more than 30 billion euros ($39 billion) in austerity cuts so far this year as it seeks to rein in the public deficit.
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