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Sol square cleared after 80 days as police hold off 15-M protest march

Authorities toughen stance over activists

Metro Madrid closed Sol station at 6.30pm on Tuesday at the behest of the authorities, as protests against the dislodging of the last remaining 15-M protestors from the central square and the nearby Paseo del Prado were due to descend on the area.

Police cordoned off access routes into Sol in preparation for what the protestors described as "a stroll" against the Interior Ministry and Madrid city authorities' decision to break up the last of the protest camps. While not on the scale of the disturbances in Barcelona when 15-M protestors blockaded the regional parliament, confrontations between police and activists in Madrid during the past two weeks have occasionally been physical in nature.

At press time the police had cleared the area inside the cordon- the first time in the two-and-a-half months since the protests erupted - using force at times, and were strictly controlling access to Sol, turning away protestors, bystanders and journalists alike.

In the streets surrounding Sol large congregations of protesters had formed, chanting slogans against the police presence and exhorting curious observers to stand shoulder to shoulder with the protestors. Among the cries filling the air were "This is our square," "Shame, shame!" and "This shit is not a democracy."