Over 150,000 people in Madrid saluted the “black march” of striking miners, which triumphantly entered the city on Tuesday night after marching halfway across Spain.
The miners poured past the Moncloa presidential palace at 11.30pm with headlamps on their helmets lighting their way. They were met by the multitude with hugs and tears of joy.
Chants of “Long live the struggle of the working class!” and choruses of The Internationale rang out across the city. Many supporters had travelled across Spain to greet them, including left wing MPs from the Basque Country and Andalusia.
Despite the huge crowds, no major TV station saw fit to turn up and witness the arrival of the miners. But an even bigger solidarity protest is expected in Madrid during the day on Wednesday.
The striking miners have been marching from their communities since the end of June. Everywhere they stopped they were cheered by crowds of working people.
As they neared Madrid the rallies to meet them swelled into thousands. People understood how the miners’ struggle against the removal of industry subsidies was “everybody’s struggle”.
The government has offered nothing to the miners and has sent riot police to terrorise mining villages. The mayor of Madrid is Ana Botella, wife of former prime minister José María Aznar. She refused to give the miners a hall to sleep in.
The miners’ struggle comes after the anger shown in Spain’s city squares last year and a general strike. Their militant defiance is reigniting people’s determination to fight austerity.