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Social networks spread political opposition in Spain

Twitter and other social networks are helping fuel street protests calling for political change in Spain

Social networks have helped mobilize thousands of people in a movement known as known as "the outraged" in cities around Spain. The movement is invading the streets -- and social networks, under hashtags such as #democraciarealya and #nolesvotes.

Thousands of people have mobilized across Spain demanding changes, above all at the political level, ahead of Sunday's regional and local elections. Puerta del Sol square in Madrid has become ground zero for this particular protest, and social networking (with Twitter leading) mobilizes hundreds of citizens to carry out various types of protest and demonstration.

As happened in other nations, hundreds of Spaniards are taking to the streets in protest against the political, economic and social development that exists in the country.

Without a clear leader, this undefined and diffuse group has assembled thousands of people to protest against politicians and ask for change.

The movement formed around opposition to the Sinde Law, which would regulate Internet downloads in Spain. People's opposition to these regulations generated the hashtag #nolesvotes, which called for citizens not to vote for political parties that support this initiative: PSOE (in government), PP (the main opposition party) and CiU (the Catalan party). Enrique Dans, professor at the Instituto de Empresa and a strong advocate of the movement, explained the movement's philosophy in a recent blog posting.

This initiative, together with Spain's economic crisis (which has even prompted the International Monetary Fund and others to warn of a "lost generation"), and the impact of similar upheavals in other countries and on social networks have generated this protest in Spanish cities.

The platform DemocraciaRealYa (http://democraciarealya.es/) called for a demonstration in various cities on May 15. In Madrid, the meeting ended in scuffles with police, pushing it onto the front page of local media, especially following the decision of dozens of protesters to camp in Puerta del Sol square as a protest.

DemocraciaRealYa claims to be a movement that is "non-partisan, forged in the heat of internet and social networks and whose sole purpose is to promote open discussion among all those who wish to become involved in the preparation and coordination of joint actions."

On Monday night, police attempted to evict the camp that these "outraged" had set up in Puerta del Sol square. YouTube is full of videos of the eviction, and users of social networks voiced their opposition to what was happening.

Since then, thousands of related hashtags have appeared on Twitter messages, including #spanishrevolution, #acampadasol, #yeswecamp and #nonosvamos.

Although Madrid is attracting the attention, protest camps are being organized in other cities in Spain, many of them chronicled in a blog.


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