Anonymous heralds revolution in Spain

Anonymous has been at work again, this time flooding micro-blogging site Twitter with rumours of an Internet-inspired revolution in Spain in the wake of the 'Arab Spring' that has swept North Africa.

Hundreds of posts, many of them associated with the 'hacktivist' trouble-making collective, claimed that the revolutionary fervour had finally reached Europe.

Unrest began in the country on Sunday 15th May, when thousands marched through towns and cities across Spain including Valencia, Zaragoza and Barcelona, in a series of demonstrations co-ordinated over the Internet. Protestors held aloft banners proclaiming the slogan, 'We're not merchandise in the hands of politicians and bankers'.

The marches were organised to highlight social conditions among young people in Spain. According to protestors, unemployment in the under-25 age group stood at 43.5 per cent in February - more than twice the average for the population, and the highest youth unemployment rate in the European Union.

One group named 'Juventud Sin Futuro' (Youth Without a Future), founded in April, began a sit-in at Madrid's Puerta del Sol, planning to remain there until the regional and municipal elections next Sunday.

But this morning, police began forcibly removing protesters one at a time, against a backdrop of protestors chanting 'No a la violencia!' (No to violence!), according to this video posted on YouTube.

Elsewhere, protestors wearing the groups's trademark yellow T-shirts posted stickers highlighting their cause.

Protestors claim that the Spanish media has failed to report events in what some are dubbing a 'Revolution' - and a page that supporters claim hosted the protestors' manifesto is now unavailable.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and micro-blogging site Twitter were instrumental in co-ordinating unrest in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, together with revelations about the former country's government in US diplomatic cables leaked by whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.

Hashtags such as #acampdasol and #democraciarealya, used to report the protests, have been trending highly on Twitter in the past days - but accounts from the ground vary as to the extent of continuing protests.

One user of the website Digg expressed little optimism over their chances of success, saying: "The protests are understandable - their cause it not really realistic".