Madrid protesters to dismantle tent village

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Protesters decrying Spain's economic crisis since mid-May have decided to dismantle their encampment in a Madrid square that has become a symbol of the anti-establishment movement.

After a four-hour meeting late Tuesday a consensus was reached to take apart the tent village that covers the central Puerta del Sol square.

"The camp is a tool of work, not an end in itself," said a text approved by the 17 committees making up the movement then submitted to a general assembly.

The demonstrators said they would continue their movement with a series of protests over the coming weeks.

Since Sunday, they have taken down several of the wooden structures covered in blue plastic tarpaulins so as to "use less space" in the square, said Paco Andres, a spokesman for the organisers.

Growing numbers of homeless people have also been taking advantage of the encampment to pitch their own tents in the square.

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", "Spanish Revolution" and "Real Democracy Now."

During the night of Monday to Tuesday, only several dozen demonstrators remained in the Puerta del Sol, three weeks after several thousand had gathered there ahead of May 22 local elections.

Now the movement, a rallying point for millions of Spaniards furious over unemployment that has soared to 21.29 percent, is seeking ways to keep up the momentum.

Organisers plan several protests on a national scale, including one on June 11, the day when local mayors elected on May 22 are sworn into office, and another on June 19.

© 2011 AFP

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