Following the success of the indignados protest on Sunday, many are saying that the time has come to end the camp that the movement set up in Barcelona's Plaça Catalunya on May 15th, amongst them Convergència i Unió (CiU), the party governing the Generalitat (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The party, which will also take over Barcelona city council on July 1st, is pressuring the incumbent mayor Jordi Hereu to take action to clear the square before he leaves the post. "If there is no risk, we can't intervene," said the Generalitat's interior minister Felip Puig yesterday, whose comments were aimed primarily at Barcelona council, "but it's clear that [the camp] can't remain there indefinitely, and as such I'm available to the councils if they think that there could be any problems on the night of Sant Joan [June 23rd]." The camp in Plaça Catalunya contravenes the municipal regulation on 'anti-social behaviour' and it is the jurisdiction of the council to ensure that people comply with this law. However, to date, the mayor has not contacted the interior ministry of the Generalitat for aid in dismantling it.
A quarter of those studying in the P6 class of Catalan public primary schools don't have the minimum levels of understanding in the key subjects of Catalan, Castilian, English and maths (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Even though there has been a general improvement on the results compared to last year, two of every 10 children at this level (around nine years of age) don't reach the minimum level and the situation is worse in public schools where the rate rises to one in four, while in disadvantaged areas, the rate is even higher at 38 percent. While there is currently controversy raging over the government's decision to abandon the sixth hour of teaching that primary school children receive (the only exception to this will be certain schools in disadvantaged areas), the president of the Consell Superior d'Avaluació de Catalunya, Joan Mateu, said that the differences between schools in terms of achievement cannot only be understood in terms of the extended teaching timetable. Mateu added that "in times of financial crisis, there can't be coffee for everybody," presumably referring to the need to make budget cuts. However, he did admit that the extra teaching hour had helped contribute to the general improvement in children's levels of understanding compared to 2010. The sixth hour was brought in to public schools during the 2006-7 school year, while it had already been present in concertada (semi-public) and private schools, and experts say that the extra teaching is the equivalent to an additional year of school.
The main Spanish and Catalan political parties have responded to the criticisms of the indignado movement by insisting that there is no alternative to democracy and the party system (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Speaking at different events yesterday, representatives from Convergència i Unió (CiU), the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) and the Partido Popular (PP) all agreed, albeit with different levels of conviction, that the protests of the 15-M movement deserve to be heard, but they also warned, with an unusual synchronicity, that political parties are today the only valid instrument to try to respond to the demands of the protestors and to mitigate the effects of the current financial crisis. The president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, was speaking at the employers' assocation, Foment de Treball, and said that he understood the "logical" expressions of discontent from those who feel that that they have been prejudiced by the crisis without having been the ones to cause it; but he warned the indignados that "there are no short cuts, or miracles, or magic sollutions" to fight against unemployment. "We understand the protests," said Mas, who also said that finding ways out of recession meant everybody getting involved and not just the government. "We have to lead and take the 'slaps' that those who are unhappy give us," he added.