Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of 16 Spanish cities Sunday to protest plans to privatize parts of their public health care system, with some questioning the government’s motives.
It was the third “white tide” demonstration in Madrid, named after the color of the medical scrubs many protesters wear. But it was the first time cities other than the capital took part, including Barcelona, Cuenca, Murcia, Pamplona, Toledo and Zaragoza. Protesters marched carrying banners saying “Public health is not to be sold, it’s to be defended.”
Health care and education are administered by Spain’s 17 semiautonomous regions. Some indebted ones, like Madrid, have announced the privatization of some services, with many people openly suspicious that the move is more a political-motivated ploy than an attempt to cut costs.
"White Coat" protesters march in protest in Madrid.