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Barcelona protesters vow to remain

Published on 02/06/2011

Protesters decrying Spain's economic crisis vowed to remain encamped in a central Barceona square, where dozens were injured last week when police moved in to disperse them.

More than 1,000 protesters took the decision in a vote late on Wednesday in the Plaza Catalunya.

“The assembly decided not to leave the Plaza Catalunya until there is a consensus on how to do it,” the protesters said in a Twitter message.

They also pledged to find other ways to ensure that the spirit of the nationwide movement continues.

Spain’s protests over the economic crisis began May 15 and fanned out to city squares nationwide as word spread by Twitter and Facebook among demonstrators known variously as “the indignant”, “M-15” and “Spanish Revolution”.

Anti-riot police fired rubber bullets and swung truncheons on May 27 to disperse protesters in the Plaza Catalunya ahead of celebrations of Barcelona’s Champions League victory.

A total of 87 people including one police officer were treated, mostly for light injuries.

By that same evening, however, at least 5,000 people were back in the square and some had put tents back up.

In Madrid, protesters have stretched a huge encampment covered by blue plastic sheets across the central square of Puerta del Sol.

They began making some structural changes to the interior of their sprawling camp Wednesday but showed no signs of reducing its size or preparing to leave the square.

The Spanish government on Wednesday warned the activists that they cannot continue.

“It cannot be that some citizens cut off the rights of others,” Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told Cadena Ser radio.

“When there are shopkeepers who complain that they are being deprived of their rights or they have difficult getting by, then you have to find an understanding,” he said.

Rubalcaba said police action would be proportionate to avoid making things worse. “For the moment we will see how things develop and continue acting in a proportionate and, I think, intelligent manner.”