Around 30,000* teachers, parents and students from schools and colleges marched through the centre of Barcelona today against a set of reforms to the public education system. As temperatures reached 16 degrees in the spring sunlight, the protest took on a festival, family atmosphere. Groups of young students were singing and dancing, young children were holding balloons and playing instruments and parents and teachers were chatting relaxedly. Access to the tourist hotspot “Las Ramblas” – usually blocked by fences and riot police in a demonstration – was blocked by 2 traffic cops.
This is the 4th day of strike and demonstration called by the unions in the last 2 years with roughly the same demands (the repealing of the LEC law, equivalent to the LOU law affecting universities), although now schools are also experiencing shortages in resources due to the economic crisis. Teachers are being asked to take on extra responsibilities, class sizes are growing and the administration of public schools is being placed in the hands of the private sector.
*12,000 according to the police, 50,000 according to the unions