Hundreds of Guardia Civiles joined thousands of Policia Nacional in a March through the centre of Madrid last Saturday demanding “economic and professional dignity”. The march was headed by mannequin dummies wearing placards with phrases that the Guardia and police are forbidden by law to say. The Guardia mannequin was gagged and the placard read: “I don’t speak because they don’t let me”. At the other end of the row, the placard on a mannequin dressed in the old “gris” (grey) uniform read: “I earn less now than when I wore this uniform”, which disappeared over two decades ago. Most of the phrases were aimed at Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba but Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was also a target. One placard read ZPinocho, a play on Zapatero and Pinochio, whose nose grew every time he told a lie. The National Police and the Guardia earn less than the regional police forces, many of whom sent delegations of support, including the Catalan Mossos, the Basque Ertzainas and even some foreign police forces. Most of the country’s trade unions also marched in sympathy. The Union de Oficiales de la Guardia Civil (UO) announced after the march that it intended to file a complaint against top officials at the Interior Ministry, including the minister, for attempting to stop the Guardia Civil from exercising their basic rights. The ministry had apparently threatened the Guardia with sanctions if they participated in the march.


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