Protesters Surround Parliament In Barcelona As Political Leaders Are Helicoptered In For Austerity Debate

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Over 2,000 demonstrators tried to blockade the Catalan parliament in Barcelona today. Spanish police surrounded the parliament, which is inside Ciudadela park, to keep the crowd out. Protestors had camped outside the park overnight to protest regional budget cuts, according to BBC.Regional officials start two-days of meetings on the 2011 budget for Spain’s Catalan region today, and expectations are for a 10% cut in public spending. The demonstrators were protesting against the new austerity measures.

Catalan prime minister Artur Mas had to fly in on a police chopper because protestors were blocking park gates. It was reported that the helicopter made eight trips to drop 25 officials to the parliament and that the debate continued despite the delay.

The protest is said to have been organised by a youth group that calls itself los indignados or the outraged ones. BBC reported that protestors managed to spray one deputy with red paint and managed to paint a black cross on another official.

Spanish youth have established 24-7 protest camps across Spain since May 15 to protest the government’s handling of the economic crisis and the corruption in the political system. It was reported last week that members of the los indignados vowed to dismantle their protest camps in Madrid, after local businesses complained of a drop in sales and officials warned of hygiene concerns. They did however say they would take the protests to the streets and have weekly town-square meetings.

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