Has the Arab Spring Come to Spain?

Protesters in Madrid are using social media and organizing citizen committees

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As protests against Spain's economic crisis swell in Madrid's Puerta del Sol plaza this week ahead of local elections, observers are posing a question: Has the Arab Spring come to Spain? To be sure, Tunisia and Egypt didn't invent the public square protest (just look at how far back demonstrations in China's Tiananmen Square go). But, as the BBC points out, the crowds condemning Spain's whopping 21 percent unemployment rate and record 4.9 million jobless citizens do bear some similarities to the protest movements currently sweeping the Arab world. Organizers are calling for grassroots demonstrations on Twitter and Facebook, for example, and protesters are camping out in Puerta del Sol and establishing citizens' committees to coordinate communications, food, cleaning, demonstrations, and legal issues.

This video in particular from yesterday's protests has been provoking many Middle East comparisons:

Here's another video of protesters from Periodismo Humano:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.