'Indignant' Spaniards demand jobs

THOUSANDS of young Spaniards camped out in Madrid and other cities yesterday to protest against high unemployment and austerity, defying a ban on demonstrations in the run-up to local elections.

In Madrid around 25,000 protesters, dubbed "los indignados" (the indignant), crammed into the city's main plaza, while protesters also gathered in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and other urban centres.

The protesters are urging people not to vote for Spain's two main parties - the ruling Socialists or the centre-right opposition Popular Party - in today's local elections.

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Fearing clashes, the Socialist government has not enforced a ban, which went into effect at midnight on Friday and prohibits political events on the eve of elections.

"I'm protesting because I've got no job future in Spain even though I've finished my degree in tourism," said Inma Moreno, 25. "This should make the political classes aware that something is not right."

The Socialists, blamed for their handling of the economic crisis, are expected to suffer major losses in the elections for 8,116 city councils and 13 of 17 regional governments.