Spain’s Crisis Reignites an Old Social Conflict

Outmaneuvering the police, hundreds of jobless farmworkers charged through a hole in a fence and turned the manicured gardens of a vacant estate here in Spain’s agricultural heartland into a lively fairground of protest this week. Men more accustomed to working in the fields lounged in the shade beside a pink palace, picnicked on paella and spent a night relaxing. Some even took a dip in the pool…

The occupation was a demonstration of the class conflicts that simmer amid complaints about austerity and joblessness in Spain. Such protests have gathered pace in this farm region in Spain’s south in recent weeks, adding a volatile dimension to the country’s economic downturn. They have also pointed to a deeper anger about the shape of Spain’s economy and democracy.

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