Thursday Dec 01, 201102:25 PM GMT
Nationwide protests continue in Spain
Fri May 20, 2011 1:36PM
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Spanish demonstrators wake up at Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, on May 18, 2011.
Tens of thousands of students, social groups and unemployed people have taken to the streets across Spain to protest against the financial crisis in the country.

Countrywide peaceful protests have been organized through social media networks such as Twitter. Hundreds of demonstrators have been camping out at Madrid's Puerta del Sol square since May 15 to demand a 'real democracy' and political and social change in Spain, The Guardian reported on Friday.

Other similar protests have been held in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao, Zaragoza and other Spanish cities.

"The economy and unemployment are key to the protest because that binds all of us together," Jon Aguirre Such, a spokesman for the Real Democracy Now movement, said.

"In this crisis, while some have gotten rich, most people have less income," he added.

The protests come in the closing days of the campaign for local elections set for Sunday. The ruling Socialist party is widely expected to suffer heavy losses over its inefficient management of the economic crisis.

Speaking in an interview with Cadena Ser radio station on Friday, Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that ongoing youth protests across the country are "understandable."

However, he said that Spain must stick to its austerity measures and continue with its economic policies.

Spain has the highest jobless rate of 21.3 percent in the eurozone and has a record 4.9 million people unemployed.

Although Spain has so far managed to stave off a bailout, economists expect that the eurozone's fourth largest economy will inevitably follow Portugal, Ireland and Greece, and will be forced to accept a financial rescue package.

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