Thousands joined the protest march through the city centre, led by representatives of unions and left-wing political groups. Salvador Salas
Wednesday’s general strike left no doubt that people are indignant and angry, but rather than showing it by stopping work all day they preferred to join in the protest march in the evening.
Support for the strike, albeit difficult to measure (in Malaga 78 per cent according to the unions and 20 per cent according to business owners), was lower than for the previous stoppage on March 29th. The majority of workers are clearly tired of this form of protest, which costs them a day’s salary, or a day’s takings in the case of small businesses.
While it was business more or less as usual in many neighbourhoods, in Malaga city centre the presence of pickets, although fewer in number than in March, led several businesses to keep their shutters down. Others defended their right to remain open.
Power consumption fell during strike day by between six and 21.7 per cent, according to Endesa.
In hospitals and health centres the majority of professionals did go to work although the number of patients was significantly lower.
Malaga airport was one of the most affected in Spain by the strike action. A total of 21 flights were cancelled, explained airport authority sources. In total 65 landings and 54 take-offs had been scheduled for Wednesday.
Meanwhile in local schools it is estimated that around 90 per cent of pupils stayed away, although support for the strike by teaching staff was reported to be around 40 per cent by the schools themselves while the unions put the figure up to 80 per cent.
One man was arrested and six people were injured in the early hours of Wednesday morning during incidents at the city’s cleaning company Limasa, at the Mercamálaga distribution centre and in a late night bar in the city centre.
The people’s desire to protest was more evident though during the demonstrations organised onWednesday evening.
Thousands joined the protest march in Malaga city centre (100,000 according to the unions and 15,000 according to the government) which proceeded mainly without incident. One participant, Mari Carmen Vázquez, summed up their reasons for taking to the streets: “I’m protesting against the labour reform; the cuts in healthcare and education; and the loss of rights that our parents fought for.”
Riot police were called in when demonstrators went into the hall of the Cervantes theatre where a performance was about to start to inform staff and audience about the strike. The police prevented the protesters from entering the theatre itself.
In Madrid disturbances outside the Congreso building resulted in 147 people arrested and 74 injured. Minority violent groups blighted what was otherwise a peaceful protest to surround the Parliament.
Objects and flares were thrown at riot police in a confrontation that ended up with barricades, burning refuse containers and police charges.