Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars Spain's sharp austerity measures have fed a growing sense of hopelessness and anger among young people. The jobless rate for the young has reached nearly 45 percent — a record in any industrialized country. Now, many young citizens are making their anger heard with protests around the country.
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Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars

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Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars

Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Madrid, that has fed a growing sense of hopelessness and anger among young people.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Madrid's central square, Puerta del Sol, is the epicenter of a new and unexpected movement of those who call themselves the indignados, the angry ones.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHANTING)

POGGIOLI: University student Hara Bustos sees a bleak future.

NORRIS: It's very, very difficult to find a job. Even if I find a job, they will pay 500 euros, and I can't afford a flat with 500 euros. OK. I'm going to stay in my parents' house until I'm 40. I can't do anything else.

POGGIOLI: The jobless rate among Spain's generally well-educated young people has reached nearly 45 percent, a record in any industrialized country. Until a few years ago, Spain was the European Union poster child: self-confident and big-spending. But in 2008, the real estate bubble burst and millions of jobs were lost.

T: Commentator Carlos Elordi says, up to now, the younger generation has been cushioned from the crisis by an informal safety net - family solidarity.

NORRIS: (Through Translator) Kids have gone back to live with their parents. Dad gives his son 300 euros a month. The uncle helps out a little. This system works here, especially in smaller towns.

POGGIOLI: And now the specter of outright poverty hangs over the Spanish household. Economist Juan Jose Dolado says the number of jobless breadwinners is growing fast.

POGGIOLI: I think 8 percent of the households in Spain don't have any member working. So 1.4 million households have all their members inactive.

POGGIOLI: However, Jose Alvarez Junco, professor of political science, is pessimistic the movement will bring about a change of economic policies.

POGGIOLI: I hope that the crisis will pass, but I really don't see any sign. And it's a loss. It's a waste of resources with these people who have been very well trained.

POGGIOLI: Thirty-four-year-old Damian Einstein, who has a job and supports the protesters, says sometimes crises are necessary.

NORRIS: Crisis is change. Crisis is reflection. So sometimes you have to go two steps backwards to go one forward.

POGGIOLI: Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Madrid.

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