The street protest joins the indefinite strike of out-of-hospital emergencies, to which the primary care strike will be added starting on the 21st
The Madrid Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso measures this Sunday in the streets of the capital the degree of discontent with its health management, beyond the open labor conflict with public sector professionals. The indefinite strike in response to his plan to reopen the out-of-hospital emergency centers continues, given that last Friday’s negotiations did not reach an agreement with the unions and, therefore, that the initiative be called off. As of November 21, around 5,000 Primary Care doctors and paediatricians will join this strike.
As an ingredient added to the labor protests, this Sunday morning a large march circulates through the streets of the capital to which both citizens and health personnel are called. The demonstration -or the four that run through Madrid, because the protest starts from four different points of the capital to converge in Cibeles- is very numerous. Specifically, the four columns have begun to walk from Nuevos Ministerios (north), Hospital de la Princesa (east), Atocha (south) -which is the largest- and Ópera (west).
The marches have caused incidents and traffic cuts in some parts of the city, such as on some of its main roads, such as Paseo de la Castellana, Calle de Alcalá or Gran Vía.
The degree of influx to the protest will have an effect in other territories, given the proximity of the regional elections, and given the importance of the Madrid popular Executive as a model for other regional barons. And it is also worrying in Genoa, since, although conflicts in health are becoming widespread throughout Spain, the special echo of those in Madrid calls into question the emphasis on good management that the national leader of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez, wants to put Feijóo, to present himself as an alternative to the Government presided over by Pedro Sánchez.
The most immediate precedent for this march is the demonstration on October 22, which brought together between 23,000 and 50,000 people, depending on which source is consulted. But since long before the outbreak of the pandemic, since the previous economic crisis a decade ago, the movement for the defense of public health known as ‘White Tide’ has periodically taken to the streets.
The motto of this Sunday’s demonstration is ‘Madrid stands up for Public Health. Against the Plan for the Destruction of Primary Care’. It has been convened by the movement of neighborhoods and towns in Madrid, made up of neighbors who in recent years have staged protests in different parts of the region in defense of public, universal and quality healthcare.
In a festive atmosphere and accompanied by batucadas, whistles and horns, the four columns that run through the streets of the Madrid capital have begun to march behind four banners with different slogans in defense of this “common good”, with a large number of ‘white coats ‘ of health personnel and t-shirts with the slogan Public Health. The departure time was twelve noon, but well before, for example at the Atocha roundabout, the first concentrations began to be seen. And through social networks, the participants shared images of crowded platforms and subway cars and neighborhoods in the direction of the meeting points for the demonstration.
The act has the support of neighborhood organizations, unions, left-wing political parties, health associations or worker platforms. But the organization has asked people who attend the demonstration, given its neighborhood character, not to carry identifying flags.
But the protest was attended by political representatives. For example, the spokespersons for Más Madrid in the Community and the City Council, Mónica García and Rita Maestre, respectively; as well as those of the PSOE, Juan Lobato and Mar Espinar; in addition to those of United We Can, Alejandra Jacinto and Carolina Alonso; or the Podemos candidate for mayor of Madrid, Roberto Sotomayor.
“We are seeing organized civil society here to tell Ayuso that healthcare is not touched, it is not scrapped to be sold to the lowest bidder, it is not sold, it is the heritage and identity of all,” Mónica García valued at the demonstration, who added: “That we have the worst investment in Health of the rest of the autonomous communities is a decision of Ayuso.” Rita Maestre, for her part, defined the protest as “the most transversal in Madrid, with people from all parties.” Meanwhile, Íñigo Errejón affirmed that behind the demonstration there is “a lot of pain”, derived, he explained, from the fact that people have to wait a long time to get a medical appointment and that professionals suffer anguish from not being able to attend to patients.
From the PSOE, Juan Lobato demanded that the Madrid president “rectify” her health plan and called it “nonsense” that the regional government wants to implement telemedicine in out-of-hospital emergencies.
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