As protesters opposed to austerity policies in Spain prepare to march outside the parliament building, riot police are gearing up and cordoning off the area with metal barriers.
The Indignados, or “Indignants” as the protesters are called, have sent out the rallying cry to “occupy congress” on Tuesday, though one group, Coordinadora #25S, has said they will not storm the building nor prevent legislators from entering it, the BBC reported.
Regardless, 1,300 police have been deployed to the area, according to the Associated Press.
The Indignados are calling for new elections, fueled with outrage at ongoing cuts in government spending while unemployment hovers around 25 percent.
The conservative People’s Party government, elected last November, has been slashing budgets for education, health care and subsidies for key industries that employ thousands of workers such as mining, in a bid to reduce its bloated deficit, while the country’s financial sector is in triage following the collapse of the housing market in 2008.
Spain has received a €100 billion bailout package from euro zone countries to prop up its hobbled banking system, but, unlike Greece, it has not been required to reduce its deficit as a condition of the loan, though it has had to submit control of its financial sector to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
The spending cuts appear to be in anticipation of a possible second bailout package to keep the government from defaulting on its debt, and so rather than be forced to relinquish any sovereignty over its spending policies, Madrid is saving face by imposing austerity on itself.
The Indignados have been protesting since May 2011, when the current political opposition, the Spanish Socialist Party, was in power. As a loosely organized popular political movement, the Indignados share a frustration with Spain’s two-party political system, a strong opposition to government austerity and rejection of the current economic system, which they view as subverting democratic freedoms and breeding political corruption.