• ‘Surround Congress’ demo called by 25-S platform in repeat of 2012 protest
• Interior Ministry mobilizes National Police riot squads to counter demnstrators
Street protests under the banner of “Surround Congress” that have been called for Saturday in Madrid to protest the scheduled Congressional vote re-electing acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) will be met by a massive police presence, conjuring up visions of a repeat of the violent clashes of 25th September 2012 between police and protesters converging on Spain’s Congress.
The attempt to surround the Congress building Saturday in protest over Rajoy’s re-election has been convened by a broad platform of left-wing organisations calling themselves the Coordinadora 25-S, which also organised the 2012 protest against austerity cuts imposed by the Rajoy-led PP majority in Congress and the wave of evictions at the time by Spanish banks of homeowners behind on their mortgage payments.
The national leader of Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos (We Can) party, Pablo Iglesias, says the protesters are within their rights of freedom of speech and assembly to demonstrate against the re-election of Rajoy and that he may leave the Congress building to greet the crowd. Alberto Garzón, leader of the Izquierda Unida (IU, United Left) coalition, which joined Podemos as part of the Unidos Podemos (United We Can) coalition in 26th June general elections, has said he supports and expects to take part in the demonstration.
In 2012, Spanish police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the “Surround Congress” demonstrators and in the March 2014 Marchas de la Dignidad (“Marches for Dignity”) protests also convened by the 25-S platform, running street battles between police and demonstrators left 101 injured, including 67 police.
Spain’s Interior Ministry has said it will activate all of the National Police UIP riot squads (Unidades de Intervencion Policial) in order to control and disperse the demonstrators.