It’s just over a week since Madrid’s new Margaret Thatcher Square was inaugurated, but already it is becoming a focal point for protests in the capital city – at least of the printed kind.
Just hours after Madrid Mayor Ana Botella presided over a ceremony to rename the plaza, which is located next to Madrid’s central Colón square, Hillsborough Justice Campaign stickers appeared on the plaza’s signs, in reference to the English soccer tragedy of 1989, in which 96 people died in a crush at the Sheffield stadium. A sticker reading “Don’t buy The Sun” was also attached to the sign.
Both Mrs Thatcher’s government and the UK daily were widely blamed for their botched handling of the disaster.
But on Tuesday evening, those stickers were no longer visible as a result of another protest. At around 7pm, a group of youngsters appeared in the square, and proceeded to “rename” the plaza, sticking over signs reading “Plaza de la Juventud Exiliada,” or Square of the Exiled Youth. The slogan is a reference to Spain’s rampant youth unemployment, which stands at over 50 percent and has prompted many well-qualified youngsters to move to other countries, such as Germany and the UK, to find jobs.
After several minutes of work putting the fake signs in place – all of which was recorded by their colleagues, as well as an EL PAÍS journalist who happened to be in the square – the job was done, and the group disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
Passers-by were quick to take pictures of the group’s handiwork, which may not stay there for long – but judging by the first few weeks of the Plaza Margaret Thatcher square, it is unlikely to be the last protest to be seen there.