15-M protestors return to Sol in "Procession of the Indignant Ones"

Demonstrators clash with police before making their way to central square

Demonstrators from the so-called 15-M movement - a popular protest group that sprang up earlier in the year ahead of local and regional elections - took to the streets once more on Wednesday night in Madrid, gathering at the Puerta de Alcalá and marching to central Sol square.

Dubbing the event the "Cabalgata de los Indignados" (the procession of the indignant ones), around 45 community groups officially signed up to attend, but according to one organizer, who preferred to remain anonymous, more than 100 were present.

"We've gathered to show that we're still here, and we still aren't happy," he said.

By 7pm, the protestors were due to begin their march, but ended up clashing with police. For 30 minutes, protesters marched back and forth through the crosswalks, and through city police blockades, stopping in the median to encourage others across. The police were apparently nervous over the presence of the protestors, given that the government delegation in Madrid had not been officially informed of the march.

At 7.20pm, when the first contingent of protesters stepped out to block traffic, police quickly swept them back and began to clear the medians.

Minutes later, police batons flailed into the front line of the demonstrators, and at least one protestor was knocked to the ground before being carried off to a riot vehicle. The protesters immediately raised their hands in the air, screaming "¡Vergüenza!" (shame) at police.

According to police sources, two of the 15-M demonstrators were arrested, while five people were injured, including two police officers. After the initial scuffles with the authorities, the demonstrators made their way to the central Sol square without further incident.

Many among the 3,000-strong crowd - which was made up of youngsters, older members of the public and local school teachers - were dressed up for the march or were carrying slogans and images. A giant cartoon of the new prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was on show, as was a forlorn Jesus figure bearing a crown of credit cards. A man dressed as King Herod, meanwhile, was shouting slogans from the top of a truck at the head of the crowd.

Protestors also repeated previous 15-M chants, such as: "We will not pay for your crisis!" and "They call it democracy, but it is not!"

When asked what kind of changes should be brought about, one young man wearing a monkey mask said: "The electoral law needs to be changed. It's embarrassing that a party that got just a small portion of the vote has won. The government must be run by an absolute majority. It's an embarrassment."

The 15-M movement sprang up in May of this year, taking the government, the authorities and the public by surprise. The protestors - who had a range of demands, including electoral reform and an end to corruption - occupied a number of public squares for several weeks, including Sol. Many see the movement as the inspiration for other recent citizen protests, such as Occupy Wall Street.

15-M protestors marching through Madrid on Wednesday night.
15-M protestors marching through Madrid on Wednesday night.CARLOS ROSILLO
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