View of the campsite at Puerta del Sol in Madrid, on May 20, 2011. (Photo: Paul Hanna via REUTERS)
“Meek people, good slave.” A young man sleeps with that slogan, made into a banner, next to his curls. It sums up well the feeling of May 15, 10 years ago: the moment in which the Spaniards, en masse, took to the streets with a backpack full of disappointment, fatigue and even rage, and said no more. That times were bad, in the middle of the world crisis, but that up to now. What fools, no. Precarious, but dignified, and eager for change.
Everyone has their image of those days well kept. The first shared messages to go to the peanut, to make pineapple. The latter, planning duffel bags and sleeping bags. The hours of bewilderment and excitement in front of TV. The videos of friends, who reached the emigrants, far away, precisely because in Spain they did not have a chance.
It is hard to choose the pictures that summarize those days, but here are 11 essentials, a sign of solidarity and unleashed citizen awareness.
And the sun came out
Tents, tents and banners, the entire Puerta del Sol became a battlefield against precariousness, cuts, unemployment, the crisis. It took a wide angle to get such human concentration in the photo.
The hands of the Spanish, exposed to ask and to collaborate. High, longing, clean. After the macrocampada, the most repeated image in the international press.
All for one, one for all
One of the most distinctive features of that camp was the solidarity between the protesters and the organization of daily life in Sol. In the image, one of the food distribution tables managed by the Protestants.
The 15-M introduced in our lives a series of slogans that have not been erased. Poster by poster, complaints and wishes multiplied. Sol’s subway station was filled with peaceful and firm screams. From “they call it democracy and it isn’t” to “the revolution has already begun.”
The protest was so strong because it was universal. It was not only against Zapatero, the incumbent president, but against the entire system. Government and opposition, acquired vices and answers that did not arrive. “Our dreams do not fit in your ballot boxes.” Says it all.
Young and not so young
The 15-M was an intergenerational cry. In the demonstrations and rallies, there were many young people, yes, but also entire and older families leaning their shoulders.
No more wailing without action. No more complaints to last vote. It was time to jump. The dream, watching over those who dream.
Kisses to reinforce the fight, kisses to reaffirm the brotherhood. Many occurred in Sol and in the other demonstrations in Spain. Of old couples and new couples forged with the cold of the ground and the night.
They were not only asking for a better Spain, but for a better world. The Spanish revolution caught on in the international media and spread to other countries shaken by the crisis, from Greece to Israel, passing through Mexico or Germany. “I want another world” read this Madrid poster.
We slept, we woke up
The Plaza Tomada was left without people, but before that a plaque was left to remember what happened. “We slept, we woke up.” Spain could no longer simply turn the page.
As in 68
Flowers against batons. There is no revolution without them. There were also them in Madrid.
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This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.