VIDEO: Spanish coal miners conclude 3 week march to Madrid with mass rally at Puerta del Sol

Michael HollowayOccupy Toronto
13 July 2012
by Michael Holloway


I don’t follow mainstream broadcast news – did this story make the evening news Wednesday? Please comment.

Spanish coal miners walked 400km across Spain from the Castile coal mining region, to the Spanish capitol in Madrid on Wednesday – to protest new austerity introduced by Spain’s centre-right, People’s Party (PP) government.

Today the miners continue their protest with a civil disobedience occupation of of Madrid’s Puerto Del Sol, the place where in October 2011 decisions were arrived at though consensus in general assembly, which lead to the birth of the North American Occupy Movement.
* * *

(A little history: The PP has been in charge of  Spain’s austerity regime after beating the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in a Novemeber 2011 general election. 

The PSOE’s electoral fortunes began to take a turn for the worse after they introduced Spain’s first – G20Toronto mandated – austerity budget in 2010. The democratic socialist’s first hit came after regional elections on May 22nd, 2011 with 28,000 ”Indignados” occupying Puerta Del Sol the result of a spontanious grass roots movement known as 15M (May 15th).

About a week after elections various police forces of several Spanish cities began to clear occupiers by force. An on-going cat-and-mouse game developed with occupy-ers occupying different Squares, then police clearing the square, and then an occupation of another square – all over Spain. This police crack down on dissent, and more austerity, and higher unemployment - resulted in a massive 500,000 strong Occupation of  Puerta Del Sol which began October 15th 2011.

The result was another election trouncing for the democratic socialists, about a month later – this time in a general election.  The centre-right PP gained the most from PSOE’s collapse – many observers noted a record number of spoiled ballots as an important factor in the PSOE’s demise. The PSOE suffered it’s worst showing in the modern democratic era (which begins at the end of the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco, 1975). 

* * *

The coal miners three-week march against a proposed slashing of Federal Coal Subsidies began in the last week of June.  As the procession neared Madrid people  joined the march in their thousands – by the time the procession reached Puerta del Sol on Wednesday (11 July 2012) the rally had swelled to 10′s of thousands of people.  On the same day as the mners arrived in Madrid, Spain’s Prime Minister announced another round of  austerity cuts to services - with new taxes – that helped swell the crowd appreciably.

The Guardian’s Giles Tremlett reports from Madrid,

“A tense standoff saw occasional police charges, rubber bullets, and demonstrators hurling objects at police. At least 76 people were injured in clashes along Madrid’s central Castellana Boulevard, but the march eventually ended with nothing more violent than a rousing singsong.”

(from “Spanish coal miners bring message of defiance to Madrid” – link below)

Some real beautiful moments in the video below (Reuters, published at the Guardian), of men letting themselves show ‘feminine emotions’; coal miners from small mining towns and urban Indignados hugging and crying.


Spanish miners’ anti-austerity protest reaches Madrid –

(Source: Reuters)

Once again, The Indignados rock!


Map of Spain's coal mining region of Castile - Google Maps

Map indicating Spain’s coal mining
region of Castile via Google Maps

In the central Spanish coal mining region of Castile, miners have been on strike against the government’s plan to end coal subsidies since May 1, 2012. There, residents of coal mining towns are blockading roads – defying government authority over the region – after the minister of natural resources tried to downplay the effects of the subsidy changes – that miners now believe will end coal mining in the region for good.

The government’s tactic of lies and half-truths has lead to a loss of faith by area residents in the democratic institutions of the country, and to daily running street battles between police armed with riot guns and rubber bullets; and teams of protesters armed with fireworks, practicing their aim with bottle-rockets shot out of pipes.

One teenager has been killed by a rubber bullet to the head. Protesters have found golf balls which have been fired out of riot guns – a much more lethal projectile, says one activist.

The video below reminds more of the civil war than a contract negotiation.


Spanish coal miners: ‘We need to keep on fighting’ –


Meanwhile in Madrid o Wednesday, Al Jazeera reporter Tim Friend reports “isolated clashes between police and demonstrators”.

The article under the video embedded below seems to have little to do with Tim Friend’s reporting. It tries to accent the violence that ended the day at the Industry Ministry – where, the unattributed Al Jazeera article says,

“The miners detonated deafening fireworks as they marched, then hurled them at the police riot vans guarding the ministry, which oversees the mining industry.”

The article, which sights “Agencies”, goes on to say the violence caused the demonstration to immediately break up, “Most demonstrators fled to side streets for safety after the violence began, …” .

These ‘Block bloc’ style tactics (teenagers and young men with psychological problems – or an all consuming hedonism), use mass demonstrations to lauch violent attacks on authority figures – then run and hide in-amoungst parents,  children and the elderly who are participating in these other-wise peaceful mass demonstrations.

In this writers opinion, there is a good possibility that agent provocateurs are nested in amoungst these masked anonymous ones who don’t like to take responsibility for their actions (unlike the everyone else).

Wednesday’s isolated incidents of violence in Madrid give authorities the framework they need to justify violent police action to break up the peaceful, mass, civil-disobedience occupation now under-way at Puerto Del Sol – by the miners and their Indignados supporters.


Spanish miners dig in for prolonged protest - Al Jazeera


I suppose if there was any coverage from Spain on the news Wednesday night, it most likely focused on this tiny minority of hedonistic individuals with unresolved parental issues.

A quick video search of of the major broadcast outlets confirms my prediction; in all the accent is on the isolated incident at the Industry Ministry building.

Most people ignorant of the details of a news story will stare at violence on a screen – it attracts our attenton because of ou social imperative – we are soft wired to resolve conflict. But because it is virtual, not real -and we know it – we slide into a transfixed, zombie like state – much like that which happens when an advertisement offers an itellectual paradox – the eyes widen, the pupils dilate. And the ears open – and the subtle narrative message seeps in without the reasoning parts of our intellect getting in the way because that part of the brain is transfixed by the paradox; either an intellectual one, as in the advertising example — or the paradox attacking our most essential imperatives – our conflict resolution imperative: settle conflict – can’t, not there – but watching… .

The zombie reaction is most common, another is an individual may jump up and start yelling at the screen, throwing pop-corn spillig drinks - unfortunately that also a neutered response – (and one that internalizes a violent response to a conflict resolution paradox).

It’s a symptom of a condition of isolation from real life, community – identity. Later, after getting drunk in order to try and numb an intuition towards this truth, this individual will hit a significant other – or fantasize about running down a cyclist on the way to a job they hate (but which, paradoxically, provides for the beer, or whatever the addiction is – shopping for example).

Anyways, enough amateur physiology. Turn off your air conditioning, turn off your TV, or The Facebook – get out of the house, meet your neighbours, talk to them.




Wikipedia, “Spanish local and regional elections, 2011″:,_2011

Wikipedia, “Spanish general election, 2011″:,_2011

Al Jazeera, 12 July 2012, ”Spanish miners dig in for prolonged protest“: July 2012,  ”Spanish coal miners bring message of defiance to Madrid” – Article:, 11 July 2012, ”Spanish coal miners: ‘We need to keep on fighting’ ” - Video:




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