BARCELONA, SPAIN – An estimated one million citizens in Barcelona participated in the nationwide general strike, called 14n, on Wed, Nov 13.
The protesters boycotted their jobs and filled
the streets of the city center with signs and flags depicting scissors to signify resentment toward the government’s employee benefit cuts. Graffiti spelled out “culprit” on bank windows, and ATM machines were left vandalized, while business storefronts read “war on capitalism.”
The strikers themselves closed the main roads this morning as they gathered by the thousands, beginning their march shortly before 1 p.m. Crowds of over one million attended the manifestation at 6 p.m., when the demonstrators came to a standstill to chant and sing in a generally peaceful protest.
14n was the second general strike since the Rajoy Administration took office at the end of last year. Elena Rodriguez, a Barcelona native and current teacher at the Council on International Educational Exchange, did not participate in this strike. She said the practice is traditional, but its repetition makes it ineffective.
“Everyone knows there will just be another one in several months,” Rodriguez said. She said this reality not only weakens the cause but also makes for a predictable outcome. “The government will say there were not enough participants to make a change and ignore it,” Rodriguez said.
National Spanish newspaper, El Pais, reports the workers’ unions organized 14n since their members are the victims of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s austerity cuts to lower the deficit. The country’s 25 percent unemployment rate secured additional support among all demographics. Reutersreported similar movement seen throughout the Eurozone in Italy, Greece, France and Portugal.
A majority of the strikes in Barcelona in recent months have been for the Pro-Independence movement and are isolated from the national efforts of the general strike. The Pro-Independence group is exclusive in its ideals, but it does not discriminate against the greater goals of the country and joined in 14n. In recent weeks, there was one union metro strike on Oct. 31, and a pharmaceutical strike on Oct. 25, both results of the government malpractice that also led to last night’s events.