March 30, 2012 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Madrid, Spain

Yesterday, Spain’s workers went on strike for another huelga general (general strike) expressing their dissatisfaction with labor reforms. The impact of the protest did not go unnoticed – public transportation ran less frequently, many shops closed, and the city was basically blanketed in trash. Leftover bottles and cans from botellón the night before. Bright-red spray paint splashed across storefront windows. Piles of flyers strewn on the ground from strikers throwing them in the air like confetti. Sure, some of the trash build up was due to striking government workers not cleaning the streets, but, for the most part, it was a direct result of the event itself. Which makes me think: I’m all for freedom of expression, but does an otherwise valid message lose its credibility when it’s at the expense of trashing the city? Hmmm.

An unexpected pleasant (albeit, perhaps over-the-top) sight among the trash-covered streets.

10 Responses to “Striking Spaniards”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Agreed. These thoughts are on my mind these days, too. The garbage and vandalism can’t be helping anyone.
    By the way, I was out yesterday afternoon taking some shots for my blog, and I walked in front of two girls taking a photo of those hanging plants near Fuencarral. If that was you, I’m glad my big head didn’t appear in your shot!
    Nice Gran Vía shot, too!

  2. Erin Says:

    No way! That was totally me! Oh Madrid – such a pañuelo.

  3. Kaley [Y Mucho Más] Says:

    Great photos. I think you definitely notice it more in bigger cities, because — back in 2010 — I was in Zamora/Salamanca, and although there were strikes, it wasn’t as noticeable as I think it is/was in the bigger cities.

  4. New Life In Spain Says:

    It went very wrong in Barcelona yesterday! Violent & scary! Your post looks nicer than mine on the same subject he he. Did it also get violent in Madrid?

  5. Christine Says:

    When I read the title of this post “Striking Spaniards” I was expecting to see a post of some Spanish hotties! 😉 Algeciras was trashed too…but really that’s nothing new (ugh!).

  6. Holly Em Says:

    The people should have been striking 5-10 years ago whilst the government has been giving out such generous benefits that were unsustainable, thus setting the bar of expectations from the people (amongst the other un-wise spending habits). THIS is the reason the country is in such trouble. Making cuts is not the problem. If the country defaults then everyone will be in much worse state. People just don’t understand this. And trashing store fronts only hurts your fellow commerades, not those whom they are striking against.

  7. Erin Says:

    Holly – agreed. I think we both well know that their often seems to be a “big picture” perspective missing in these parts.

    Christine – hahahaha, watch, I’m going to get search traffic for people looking for hot Spaniards! I’m so dense that I didn’t even think of that when writing the title.

  8. Rob Innis Says:

    After living with the Spanish for 12 years I have come to accept that there littering habits are consistent with all events from fiestas to strikes. After all it is someone else’s job to pick it up and who would deprive them of that job. Which (when they want) they can be extremely efficient at. As after our local street market (largest on the Costa Blanca) the rubbish is cleared within a couple of hours.

  9. Erin Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought – which comes first when it comes to littering here in Spain: people being messy, therefore a good cleanup system? Or a good cleanup system that makes folks feel like they can be messy? I appreciate how well they tidy up here, but wish that throwing trash everywhere wasn’t so pervasive in the first place…

  10. robin Says:

    Definitely have to disagree with Holly’s point I’m afraid – it’s too easy to blame the social security bill or benefit fraud or whatever for current woes but it doesn’t make any sense. As I understand it the market crashes and subsequent banking crisis were born deep in the private sector, coming about as a result of deregulated activity in the markets. Thoroughly entrepreneurial and thoroughly disreputable.

    Social security costs would be dwarfed in scale. If we hadn’t had a private and financial sector let loose to fill their boots in a deregulated and, looking back, criminal environment then the like of the Spanish government would still be handing out “unsustainable” benefits without the merest whiff of a euro crisis or the prospect of a bailout. I don’t believe you could make the argument the other way around.

    The public sector, it seems, right down to the tax payer, will have to pay for this crisis, but it came from the private sector. Anything else seems like scapegoating to me.

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