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May 15 movement to get Madrid plaque in time for fifth anniversary

Initiative to commemorate 15-M protests put forward by leftist Mayor Manuela Carmena

A gathering in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol to celebrate the fourth anniversary of 15-M.

Five years after it erupted on to the Spanish political scene, the May 15 protest movement (15-M) is to be commemorated with a plaque in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol.

The emblematic square in the heart of the capital became the epicenter of mass protests against the country’s political parties’ handling of the economic crisis during the spring of 2011.

Both the Podemos party and the Ahora Madrid platform grew out of 15-M

The proposal, which was originally approved in November, was put forward by the Ahora Madrid leftist grouping that currently runs Madrid City Hall, and was backed by the Socialists (PSOE) and the center-right Ciudadanos.

Full details of the wording on the plaque have not yet been revealed, though proponents have requested it include the phrase “We were asleep, we woke up” – the slogan that emerged during the month-long occupation of the square.

In proposing the commemorative plaque, Ahora Madrid highlighted the influence that 15-M had on Spanish politics, eventually leading to the creation of the Podemos party – which came in third in the recent Spanish general election – and, through that, Ahora Madrid itself.

Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena, who was elected on the Ahora Madrid platform in 2015, described 15-M as having had an “extraordinary impact on the process of democratic regeneration” in Spain.

Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes described the decision as a “tasteless joke”

But Cristina Cifuentes, the head of the Popular Party-run Madrid regional government, described the decision as a “tasteless joke,” assuming it would be placed next to plaques in the square commemorating the uprising against occupying French forces in 1808, as well as another dedicated to the victims of the 2004 terrorist attacks in the capital.

City Hall says it has no plans to put the 15-M plaque alongside these memorials on the wall of the historic Real Casa de Postas, which now houses regional government offices.

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