Granada, Spain–Where did all these people come from?
At 5pm we set off towards Caleta, via La Puerta de Elvira to meet up with the Asamblea del Albaicyn. Each group arriving at the gate at the same time (more luck than coordination) and greeting each other with cheers and whistles. Raul turned up on his tricycle, coolers loaded with water bottles and begging a hat to cover his dreds… I gave him mine; I looked silly in it anyway. We numbered about 150 by then.
We continued our little stroll towards Caleta, passing a group in Triunfo fixing up posters and banners. There were affectionate criticisms of their tardiness: “Where are you going?” “To change the world! And you guys are late… hurry up!”
We reached Constitucion, and suddenly we weren’t 150… we were 1000!!! Two more barrios had sneakily joined us, drums and all. We checked each other out, admiring our t-shirts, our banners and our messages. The atmosphere was–electric sounds too cliché–expectant, perhaps. We were beginning to sense the after-shocks travelling back through time. Something big was about to happen.
By the time we reached Caleta our numbers were growing, and then suddenly we can hear drums, music, shouts and cheers as the head of our little procession entered the square to greet the thousands already there waiting for us. People who had come from all over Granada and beyond. The first people I saw were folk I recognised from the acampada. People I had slept beside in the Plaza del Carmen. They seemed as shocked by our numbers as we were by theirs. Looking around we realised we had already passed the 5000 mark of the first demo on 15th May… rumours abounded. Astonishment abounded… crowds of sweaty demonstrators huddled together in the sparse shade as the temperature soared to 35 degrees and everyone looked for people they knew.
That should have been a clue. Who were all these people? Why was it so difficult to find companions from the assemblies?
At 6:30pm we set off… at 6:50 we were still in the square! Thousands had joined us… and more were still coming… and jumping the queue! (This is Spain, after all!) Finally we got back on to Constitucion to head towards the centre and already the head of the march was at Triunfo. Unbelievable… 12,000 was the number buzzing around.
The atmosphere was incredible: charged, elated, indignant and loud! The drums were pounding, the saucepans were clanging, the whistles were… errr… whistling.
We jumped, we shouted, we marched a little bit… repeat. We bumped in to people as surprised and as happy as we were to find a familiar face. We hugged, we compared notes and emotions. We realised we were part of something that still defied explanation.
And still the sun beamed down. Friends and strangers passed bottles of water, or squirted us from water-pistols and atomizers–everyone was a friend, a fellow ‘Indignado’ sharing whatever resources we had brought with us.
Slowly we crept towards the Town Hall where a few thousand Granada FC fans were celebrating their team’s ascension to the first division. “First Division Team, Third Division Government!” we all shouted. And still we streamed past them.
I met a friend who said she had spent half an hour watching us pass, and still we were coming! 20,000 we were once we reached the Fuente de las Batallas! 20,000, when last time we were 5,000!
Children, students, parents, grandparents all together and clamouring for a better world, a true democracy and an end to corporate control of our government.
At 10:30pm we left the fountain to the Granada FC fans. Some to have drinks with friends, others just to rest their weary legs and reflect on what they had been a part of…
That is going to take a little longer than the five hours walking in the Sunday sun. Will let you know when I make sense of all the emotions. There is one thing I do know… I am embraced in the arms of 20,000 people who feel just like me… indignant with the way the powers that be have lied, cheated and stolen our future, and now ‘THEY’ can no longer ignore us. We will reclaim our democracy. We will prevail.
Resistance is NOT futile.