It's my first visit to Madrid, I don't speak Spanish, and I'm only here on a five-day business trip, so I can't claim to be any kind of expert. I'm only reporting what I see. I'd heard vaguely about the Spanish protests, but I was unprepared for the scenes when I emerged from the Puerta del Sol underground and into the square. It's a complete take-over by mainly young people - students I guess - and they're clearly here for a long stay. Tents, sleeping bags, stoves, kitchens and, according to a newspaper report "canteens, daycare, pharmacy, press centre and other facilities...". The picture above gives you an idea of the banners, mainly in Spanish, but I saw several in English with the message - shown in the picture above - saying ""People of Europe, Rise Up". It's quite staggering.
A large area of central Madrid has been taken over, not just the Puerta del Sol. Lots of other smaller squares are full of (mainly young) people who seem to have occupied them on a semi-permanent basis. The gatherings look like sit-ins , reminiscent of the 60s and 70s. And there are smaller gropus every now and then, sometimes gathered round someone making a speech, sometimes in animated conversation. And there are makeshift signs and placards everywhere.
There was a heavy police presence around the government buildings - one was the Finance Ministry, I think - around Puerta del Sol, but in the main the protests seem relatively unpoliced - something inconceivable in London.
On the late train back to Tres Cantos, the town I'm working in, three women in their 50s and 60s and a young woman spotted that we were foreigners - I was with three colleagues, two Dutch, one English - and they moved seats to speak to us about the situation: "What do you think of the protests?" "It's very important what's happening here." The two older women spoke in Spanish and the younger one interpreted. They asked about the student protests in Britain, asking "did the students attain their demands" (to which we had to say, sadly, "not yet"). They were keen to point out that the in Spain "it's not just students, it's everyone".
This is all I know at the moment, but, in the face of an almost total news blackout, I'd thought I'd at least give my limited eye-witness account. These demonstrators clearly see the "austerity measures" being inflicted on Spain as part of the same programme that's inflicting them on Britain, Ireland, Greece and other countries. That's why they're saying "People of Europe, Rise Up".
And that's why it's not in the news.