Police again close Madrid square to keep out protesters

4th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish riot police closed Madrid's main square for the third straight day on Thursday to prevent protesters from regaining access to it after they were evicted in this week's dawn raid.

Lines of police wearing helmets stood behind barriers set up in the streets leading into the Puerta del Sol square, birthplace of the nationwide 15-M movement against the government's handling of Spain's economic crisis, named after its May 15 launch date.

About 200 demonstrators, also known in Spain as the "indignants", chanted "Shame, shame!" and "The people united will never be defeated!" as they stood in front of the police.

The square's metro station, the city's busiest, as well as a commuter train stop were closed for several hours. Cafes and restaurants in the streets leading to the square, which is usually packed with tourists, also closed.

The protesters then marched through central Madrid, blocking traffic several times along the city's high street, the Gran Via, by sitting in the middle of the road and chanting, "This is what happens for kicking us out of the square!".

Police cleared dozens of protesters who were camped at an information stand set up in the square by the protesters and along the central Paseo del Prado avenue in a dawn operation on Tuesday that resulted in no injuries or arrests.

The protest movement emerged after thousands of people set up camp in the square ahead of municipal elections to protest what they see as governments bowing to financial markets and ignoring the needs of ordinary people.

The vast ramshackle protest 'village' was dismantled on June 12 but members of the group had since staffed a wooden information stand in the square round the clock.

© 2011 AFP

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