Spain austerity protest: ‘Things got worse than last year’

Reuters / Susana Vera
The situation in Spain is deteriorating as the money it got from Europe went to bailing out banks which continue to foreclose homes, but not help ordinary people, anti-austerity activist Clara Valverde told RT.

RT:Last year's Dignity March in Spain against austerity saw a huge turnout. Why are people taking to the streets again, twelve months on?

Clara Valverde: Things have got worse not better. For instance now we are up to 500 foreclosures a day and people are hungry, children are hungry and for the first time since we have democracy people are dying in the winter time because of the lack of heating because they cannot afford heating in their homes. This is a much worse situation than a year ago.

READ MORE: 'Bread, jobs, dignity': Crowds gather for anti-austerity march in Madrid

RT:Is it really fair to compare the social situation in Spain and Greece, as opposition politicians and rally organizers do?

CV: Obviously in Greece they were worse off, but this is between bad and very bad, so yes there are a lot of similarities in terms of the impact of the austerity measures. I’m thinking of Julia, a woman in Madrid, who is 80 who has cancer who has been foreclosed who went to city hall to protest and got fined for protesting and now she is having got her electricity cut... This is like in Greece very much.

RT:What do you expect the government to do realistically if the money is not there?

CV: Well the money is there. The thing is that the money is going to bailout the banks and not the people. The money that they asked from Europe went to bailout Bankia, the bank that is foreclosing 500 homes a day. So the money is there and if we look at corruption, at where the money is and the fact that the rich don’t pay taxes their money is in other countries… So the money is there, the question is the willingness to organize it.

RT:You’ve said the situation has deteriorated. Is the government not listening and not showing the willingness?

CV: They are not willing because there is a right-wing party; they really act like the civil servants of the Troika, of the big banks. They are not really there for the people, it’s not that they can’t it’s that they don’t really want to.

RT:Why are alternative parties like the leftist Podemos group gaining popularity in Spain? Are they posing a threat to the government?

CV: They are a big threat because that’s all the government talks about since Podemos started, and it’s been a small party but now it’s huge. Podemos is a wonderful threat to the government and people are outraged and not just at the national and regional level, in some places Podemos is party number one, in some places number two so they really have come on fast, but also at a municipal level there are new parties similar to Podemos. So everywhere now people in Spain are organizing to really try to change this because this cannot go on.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.