Spain's 'indignant' protesters hit streets
Demonstrators from Spain's "indignant" social movement took to the streets of Madrid and four other cities Wednesday to protest against government spending cuts and growing economic inequality.
About 3,000 people, many beating drums or dressed as Christmas characters, marched through the centre of the Spanish capital in what was billed as an alternative Epiphany feast parade.
Smaller protests were also held in Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, Avila, Badajoz and Palma de Majorca in the Balearic Islands.
Two people were arrested and five others were slightly injured when riot police charged a small group of protesters at the start of the march in Madrid who refused to stick to the approved route for the demonstration, the online edition of daily newspaper El Pais reported.
Two of the injured were riot police, it said.
"Education is an investment not an expense," and "People are not merchandise," were some of the signs on display at the march in Madrid.
Parades featuring colourful floats and musical bands are held across Spain every year on January 5, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the coming of three wise men to bring gifts to the Christ child.
Spain's "indignant" protest movement was born when thousands protested in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square ahead of May 22 municipal elections to vent their anger over the high jobless rate, corrupt politicians and government policies which they say favour big business and banks over ordinary people.
They set up a vast ramshackle protest 'village' in the square that included everything from a canteen to a kindergarten and a library. It was dismantled in June by demonstrators under pressure from the authorities.
But members of the movement have since staged regular, overwhelmingly peaceful protests that in some cases have drawn tens of thousands.
© 2011 AFP