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Spanish indignados launch four days of internationally coordinated actions


The marches on Saturday will launch a four-day protest that will end on May 15, the anniversary of the movement's birth -- a date that led them to being dubbed 15-M.

The movement, which relies heavily on online social networks to campaign and organise, has inspired similar protests from London to the United States' Occupy Wall Street.

This time, Spaniards have even more to protest: a recession, unemployment at 24.4 percent, and 52 percent for the young, and more than 30 billion euros ($39 billion) worth of austerity cuts so far this year.

In London, too:

Several hundred Occupy protesters took to the streets of the City of London on Saturday, calling for an end to "predatory capitalism" after their movement declared a global day of action.

Demonstrators gathered in London's financial heart as Spain's linked movement of "indignados" held marches in 80 towns and cities, and Occupy organisers promised protests in cities including Moscow, New York and Athens.

The demonstrators, some waving the movement's trademark tents or wearing white "V for Vendetta" masks, held banners proclaiming "normal predatory capitalism", "we expect political democracy" and "shut down the 1 percent".

They gathered outside St Paul's Cathedral in spring sunshine for a "teach-out" from a series of speakers before "visiting the 1 percent" in a tour of the City taking in various financial institutions.

James Meadway, senior economist at the New Economics Foundation, told AFP: "This is a good turnout. The issues haven't gone away. The crisis is getting worse."

Norwegian student Ragnhild Freng Dale said the main achievement of the movement -- galvanised by anger at social inequality in the economic downturn -- was to attract people who did not normally see themselves as activists.

"The movement has made a big impact," she said.

Occupy organisers said in a statement, "Nowhere in Europe in the unequal distribution of wealth as striking as in the UK.

"The richest 1,000 persons, just 0.005 percent of the adult population, increased their wealth by £155 billion over the last three years.

"That is enough for themselves alone to pay off the entire budget deficit [NOT IMPORTANT!] and still leave them with £30 billion to spare." [Though a nice talking point.]

Activists linked with the global movement on Friday published a manifesto of "concrete proposals for global change", demanding "an absolute end to fiscal austerity policies that benefit only a minority".

Other demands included free healthcare and education worldwide and more use of renewable energy.

Hmm. Demands. I wonder how that came about.

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