Spanish in mass protest at high unemployment and austerity drive

TENS of thousands of people filled Madrid’s Puerta del Sol during the weekend to protest against high unemployment and austerity measures, defying a ban on demonstrations on the eve of local elections.

Protesters of all ages including families with small children and pensioners joined hundreds of young Spaniards, who have been camping out in Madrid for a week, in peaceful protest against the government’s handling of the economic crisis.

The number of demonstrators swelled to around 30,000 people on Saturday night. Protesters also gathered in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and other cities urging people not to vote for either of Spain’s two main parties.