Demonstrations in Spain

Our retreat for international workers ended on Monday evening, May 16. On Tuesday we flew to Madrid for several days of vacation and ministry.

Hotel Asturias, where we are staying, is one long block from the plaza (square) that is the center of the city. The plaza is known as Sol, or more properly Puerta del Sol, the Gate of the Sun. As you may be hearing in your news, since Tuesday Sol is the scene of mass demonstrations of thousands of people. Sunday will be election day for local officials across the nation. The demonstrators are mostly young adults, protesting the lack of jobs and the fact that, in their opinion, none of the candidates are listening to the people. The demonstrators are calling for true democracy.While the protesters are vocal, they seem not to have any agreement on just what should be done.

The crowds swell and become quite noisy at night. Huge numbers of police are on hand, but the protests have been peaceful and are likely to stay that way. Some of the demonstrators spend the night in Sol, sleeping in their sleeping bags or on mattresses they have dragged in.

Last night, Friday, Paul Keagy and I went out after midnight to mingle with the crowd. We felt quite safe and talked with people who were eager to explain the concerns of the protesters and express their admiration for America as having the kind of democracy they want here.

I will try to post some photos soon, but for now I will stop and publish this post.

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