Yesterday was as intense as I suspected. I have never seen a community of people mobilized in the same way as I did for the general strike. The entire day sentiments of community and solidarity mixed with general weariness and dissatisfaction. Streets that would be otherwise bustling (bustling is relative under the guise of a severe depression) were ghost towns. At 17.30 nearly all the cafés and bars that had remained open despite the strike were sweeping their floors and collecting finished classes. I don’t know if they closed early to prevent the risk of damage to the store or out of sheer desire to join their countrymen, but there was a hush that came over the town.
There were signs everywhere. The news captured the protest, but it didn’t cover the small details around the city that reflected the magnitude of the day. To such an extent, I captured a few.
What was amazingly evident was the blatant disdain for the banks. ATMs were vandalized as were branch windows. It was incredibly concentrated and poignant and there was no mincing of words regarding the public opinion of banks. Equally fascinating was the number of private business owners who closed their doors- thereby losing an entire day’s revenue- in honor of the strike.
In my opinion, the most profound sign I saw for the entire day. Profound is not synonymous with agreement for me, but I think this sign most readily and sophisticatedly captures why an estimated 35,000 people showed up to march the streets of Madrid.