Our Life and Times column by Kevin A. Barry
EU protests in Spain
The European Union summit meeting in Seville, Spain
faced a number of challenges from labor, anti-racist, anti-globalization, and
anti-capitalist activists. Those challenges began on June 20, when Spain's
conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar delayed opening the summit for
This was because labor unions had shut down transport
services, including taxis, as part of a nationwide general strike to protest
efforts by Aznar to force workers to take low-paying jobs far from their homes
or risk losing their unemployment benefits. The current unemployment rate is
"only" 11%, down from 20% six years ago.
At the summit itself, the main topic debated by leaders
was curbing immigration. Immigrants and students had to face thousands of
heavily armed police as they held small demonstrations in support of immigrant
and student rights at the University of Seville.
Finally, on June 22, as the summit closed, over 100,000 anti-globalization and anti-capitalist demonstrators from across Europe and beyond filled the streets of Seville. This mass demonstration for workers and immigrants' rights included slogans such as "Freedom of Movement."
Published by News and Letters Committees