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Menos gritos y mas palabras

May 26, 2011 – 12:55 pm

Demonstration by "indignados" last week in the Setas.

After the excitement which surrounded the climax of the public pre-election protest last week – 15M, Democracia Real Ya, the Spanish revolution – the atmosphere is changing: evolving and developing, in a constructive way. Unemployment, corruption, lack of accountability and the electoral system are still targets of people’s indignation, just in a less actively vocal way.

While some media commented, rather glibly, that the acampada (sit-in) in the Setas here in Seville was melting away, others chose to look for a more positive interpretation. Metropol Parasol, Seville’s new architectural icon, has proved an ideal setting for these meetings and sleep-overs, with its shady parasols, photogenic steps and raised platform area. You couldn’t have asked our now ex-mayor to have provided a more perfect venue. Thanks, Sr Monteseirin.

Everyone agrees that the movement reached a peak, in terms of public interest and attendance (the vertical equivalent of bums on seats), last weekend, when 5,000 or so people came to the daily meetings at the Setas, shouting slogans and displaying their placards.

List of demands, with suggestion box for each one. Public participation is key to the movement's success.

Now, the mood has gone from energetic and charged to pensive, looking towards more long-term goals. One of the protestors was quoted as saying: “The explosive part of the movement is over, and it’s time for reflection now. Today in the acampada there is less shouting and more speaking.”

As is happening in Madrid, and no doubt in other cities, the movement is being taken out to the barrios of the city – on Saturday morning, there will be meetings at all the civic centres of Seville’s eleven districts, where people from the Setas group will tell local residents what their movement is all about. Their message will also be taken throughout the province of Seville, as will happen throughout Andalucia, one assumes. Malaga had a high turn-out of people to its meetings.

What is clear, and highly admirable, about this movement, is that is has stuck hard and fast to its ideals of peaceful protest – no alcohol and no violence, which is extraordinary when you think that 40,000 people were out on the streets last weekend in cities around Spain. The Setas group report that “the police and the local residents congratulated us on the excellent relations between everyone.”

Rules at Setas acampada: no booze, no glass, dogs on leads, and keep the noise down at night.

As an example of their level of organisation and coordination, these are some of the facilities and activities available at the Setas – despite the numbers dropping off (this is in addition to the committees for communication, food, security, cleaning and logistics): a massage room, a furniture workshop, a first-aid area, electric generators and an area for art activities. There’s also a study area for those who are in the middle of their exams (both school and university students).

This weekend various marches and demonstrations are planned, to keep the subject in the public eye, and mind. So if you’re out and about in Seville – or indeed any other city – be aware that you may come across people with placards who are demanding major social and political change for this country. In a civilised, peaceful way.

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