Madrid protesters vow to stay on

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Hundreds of protesters vowed Sunday to stay at least another week in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square to decry the main political parties they blame for soaring unemployment.

The demonstrators agreed in a show-of-hands vote at a meeting in the square to stay at least until May 29, when they planned another vote over the future of their makeshift camp.

"We have decided to stay at least until Sunday at 12 pm (1000 GMT)," a protest organizer declared after the vote.

The protesters remained in the square even as voters cast ballots in local elections Sunday, defying Spain's election commission which has ruled the gathering illegal.

Political protests are banned in Spain on the eve of elections and the day of the vote.

Protesters, who describe themselves as the "indignant", began gathering May 15 in a swelling movement known variously as "M-15", "Spanish Revolution" and "Real Democracy Now".

As the movement grew, tens of thousands of people packed city centres in night-time rallies across Spain, but Madrid's Puerta del Sol hosted the largest demonstrations by far.

© 2011 AFP

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