Spanish revolution camp

Today is the fifth day at what some have started to call the 15M_Sun Republic. In Madrid’s very central Plaza del Sol, demonstrators for a true democracy are camped out. They express general disgust and weariness with the current crisis that has led to 21% of unemployment and extremely precarious jobs. Never before had Spanish democracy (since dictator Franco’s death in 1975) experienced such a grass-roots movement, without being affiliated to any political party and coming from different ideologies. The general miserable condition is what has joined the people together and facebook and twitter have simply done the rest. Hundreds of thousands have gone out to the street in Madrid, but also in Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Valencia, almost every Spanish city and even some demonstrations at Spanish embassies and consulates in several foreign cities, such as Berlin, London, Dublin, Montpellier, Mexico…

But not only is it about being outraged at the decadent economic situation. Another reason for such a pacific fury is the very long list of politicians charged with corruption – to be found in every party’s list – that repeat as candidates for the regional elections on Sunday 22nd May. The first protest camp was banned two days ago, which made a second edition reemerge with even more energy and popular support. Yesterday, the Electoral Board banned the camp again, since it would not respect the official last day without propaganda before the election. The spokesmen of the movement have accepted the decision from an official position. However, they assume that citizens will probably express their discontent on the street anyway after this governmental counterproductive decision. The civic movement does not consider their protest as propaganda for a certain party, but quite on the contrary, they rather question the whole established system.

The Plaza itself has been turned into an incredibly well-organised political expression site, almost like an informal revolutionary parliament. At Madrid’s Acampadasol, eleven commissions have been set up; six of which have a fix spot in the plaza as shown in the map below: Action, Communication, Food, Legal Support, Infrastructure/Logistics and Information. The other five move their location according to the circumstances: Cleaning, Internal Coordination, Media, University and Neighbourhoods. The epicentre is based around the sculpture of King Carlos III (aka. “the best mayor of Madrid”) with fabrics and plastics hanging from his horse legs and tied up to the nearby lampposts for rain and sun shelter. Protesters sleep on cardboard surfaces and blankets have been brought by spontaneous supporters. Mobile chemical toilets have been donated by a private company and neighbours bring extra food to the crowd. Every piece of wall serves for public expression: large advertising scaffoldings wrapping emblematic buildings have been appropriated as a display platform for complaints, dreams and wishes. Meanwhile, assemblies, talks and discussions are continuously held among the assistants to think of collaborative proposals for the future.

The people no more believes in any of their politicians.

democracia real ya

toma la calle

toma la plaza

spanish revolution

acampada bcn

[1>Spanish Revolution Camp via elpais][2>Diagram of Madrid’s protest camp by Heber Longás via elpais][3>protesters at dawn via elpais][4>collective expression by Andrés Jaque][5>Madrid’s Puerta del Sol protests by BroccoLee][6>Madrid’s Puerta del Sol protests by Pablo Talamanca][7>collective expression via ][8>Barcelona Protest Camp by albertmartnez]



  1. Great pictures of the giant fashion and cosmetic billboards overlaid with protesters’ banners

  2. Anastasia

    “large advertising scaffoldings wrapping emblematic buildings have been appropriated as a display platform for complaints, dreams and wishes. ”

  3. “Informal Revolutionary Parliament” i realy liked the expression it reminded me of what happened in Tahrir square during the 25th Jan Revolution.
    check out the link below to see how a city within a city evolved!

    • daniel

      Thanks, Ahmad for the link. It’s beautiful how humans in different places can organise themselves in similar ways.

  4. there can also be an informal revolutionary media as well!

  5. Pingback: deconcrete/////////////////////////////////////////////////

Leave a Reply