Category News

A championship, a king’s abdication, and a welcome thank you

2014-05-25 21.39.53 ¡La Décima! Although I am a strong supporter for Atléti Madrid, it was definitely cool to witness a Madrid-Madrid Champions final. Because of the skill of every player on every team eligible, many people consider the Champions League crown the most important in the world, even more important than the World Cup (¡Aupa Atleti, todavía!).

King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicated his throne to his son two weeks ago. It's been an incredible experience to live in a modern monarchy, even more so to witness the abdication. King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicated his throne to his son two weeks ago. It’s been an incredible experience to live in a modern monarchy, even more so to witness the abdication.

These pictures are from Puerta del Sol on abdication day. They show a massive presentation by supporters of the Republic, who want to abolish the Spanish monarchy entirely. These pictures are from Puerta del Sol on abdication day. They show a massive presentation by supporters of the Republic, who want to abolish the Spanish monarchy entirely.

In grade 4, I've been helping the students prepare an incredibly important end--of-year exam (think PACT x100) since October. Remarkably, we achieved a 100% pass rate, which is unheard of. The next day, the kids really surprised me with an outpouring of thanks for my work over the course of the year. Warmed my heart In grade 4, I’ve been helping the students prepare an incredibly important end–of-year exam (think PACT x100) since October. Remarkably, we achieved a 100% pass rate, which is unheard of. The next day, the kids really surprised me with an outpouring of thanks for my work over the course of the year. Absolutely warmed my heart.

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NEWS: Mass protests rise in Spanish capital again

2014-03-27 21.15.25

Spaniards crowded the streets in the Madrid center again last week in a fresh wave of protests against austerity measures set to soon hit the country.

Hundreds of protestors on bicycles filled La Gran Vía, a a major thoroughfare and the most famous street in Madrid, while chanting protest slogans against government cuts and the general malaise that has taken hold of the nation. Police were prepared, though, and had cordoned off the street in advance and had set up barricades with dozens of officers around the demonstrators.

The protest became violent at times. Fireworks or cherry bombs could be heard exploding a few blocks from Gran Vía, and there were a few scuffles between protestors and police. At one point a man burned a hole into the center of a Spanish flag as police officers watched tensely just a foot away.

The Thursday night protest followed a week of renewed demonstrations against Spain’s unemployment rate, the Spanish government, and drastic federal cuts in social welfare. The previous weekend, protestors organized a massive huelga general  (“general strike”), which they dubbed the “Dignity Marches.” While organizers of the protest said almost two million people participated in Saturday’s protest in Madrid, city government officials said the true number was closer to 36,000.

Protestors included workers for Coca-Cola, which […Pictures & more info from protest inside…]

NEWS: Another grand protest in Madrid — this time, by the city’s cleaners

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Hundreds of government workers in the cleaning and gardening services of Madrid held a protest tonight in Puerta del Sol that included bonfires, firecrackers, and trash being thrown around the plaza.

The protest came ahead of an indefinite strike planned by  workers in the “Limpieza” service that is set to begin at midnight on Nov. 5.

The workers are protesting a recent decision by the Madrid government that effectively lays off more than 1,100 of the city’s 6,000 gardening and street cleaning laborers. Moreover, in the contract negotiations between the government and the four staffing agencies for the Limpieza, the most recent offer would reduce Limpieza workers’ wages by more than 40 percent.

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The Limpieza protest comes one week after a strike by the regional Cercanías train service workers in Madrid and two weeks after large nationwide strikes and demonstrations protesting education austerity measures.

Walking around the plaza, I saw hundreds of people tearing up paper and throwing heaps of trash into the air and around the plaza. I saw three or four bonfires that protestors had started with that trash and some Limpieza uniforms. I also heard more than a few firecrackers go off within the plaza, and the majority of the protestors were wearing Limpieza uniforms. There were, of course, the usual chants, marches, and megaphones present at all protest demonstrations.

Even Spaniards say […]

NEWS: Students, teachers protest en masse against LOMCE

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Students and teachers in Madrid and around Spain participated in mass strikes and protests last week in a demonstration against a recent law that slashed government funding for public healthcare and education.

Protesters said they were demonstrating against the Ley Orgánica para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa (“The Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality”), also known as LOMCE or the “Wert law” after Spanish Education Minister José Ignacio Wert. The law went into effect in May 2012 and is estimated to cut public funding towards education and healthcare by over 10,000 million euros. Wert and representatives of the Spanish congress said at the time that the cuts were necessary in order to meet deficit targets set by the European Union. Opponents of LOMCE say that the law endangers the future of public education in Spain.

Protesters took to the streets on Thursday, Oct. 27, to voice their displeasure with the measures. The demonstrations began at 6 p.m. in Plaza Neptuno, just off the city’s center at Puerta del Sol. The demonstrations lasted for hours and wound through the streets past the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Banco de España until culminating in front of the Ministry of Education building.

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Protesters were enthusiastic throughout the march. Some carried megaphones or drums, others with flaires, and many more just marched with signs. Protesters alternated between periods of unified chanting, quiet, and playful dancing.There was no clear estimate in Spanish media of the size of the turnout: Protesters said almost all teachers participated in strikes earlier Thursday, while government officials deemed the protests a failure.

In my personal opinion, I felt like there were tens of thousands of protesters out on Thursday evening. I’d estimate somewhere around 60,000 people at the protests, with most participants being […]