29-S Huelga General Or How a Bit of Wizardry with Numbers Keeps Everybody Happy.

  • ½ Hour earlier out of bed
  • 0 sounds coming from outside during the night: no garbage collectors, no night buses, no nothing.
  • 1 hour walking to work, since it was not clear on how the metro would work
  • 3 buses only seen on way to work, with 4 passengers in each one of them
  • 1000’s of leaflets, posters, stickers and other stuff on the streets already in the early morning
  • tons of garbage everywhere
  • 50 extra policemen seen just on way to work
  • 40 colleagues arrived at the office (Out of 40. Not bad)
  • 45 minutes after the start of normal working hours my last colleague arrived
  • 100 % of shops, bars and restaurants seem to be open
  • 75 minutes to get back home again
  • 10.000’s of leaflets, posters, stickers and other stuff more than this morning
  • 1000’s of people demonstrating for other things than the reforms: for the republic, communism, the rights of the Western Sahara or against the system in general, now that we are at it
  • 100’s of tourists looking bewildered, hoping tomorrow everything will be back to normal and the orange Madrid Vision buses will be running again

So who won today? Well, everybody! It is amazing to see how difficult it apparently is to count heads, for this strike but also for any other demonstration ever. Depending on which side you stand, the numbers always differ wildly. The unions speak of 70% of workers who went on strike today (and that is an outright lie) and the government only says that some industries were completely paralyzed and in other sectors only 3% of workers went on strike. El País found that 95.000 people in Madrid took part in the main demonstration (I am sure there were more) while El Mundo somehow counted 500.000 (Packed in just a handful of streets? Only if they stand on each other’s shoulders.)

  • 1 new system to count crowds is badly needed

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