A demonstration in the Spanish capital, Madrid took place yesterday and at its front was a group from an occupation of a school in the town. Parents have been occupying the Arcipreste de Hita school for the last 19 days in protest at the closing of a nursery class which has left their children without school. Parents say there is a room and a teacher but the municipality has cut the class, despite the fact that there are 19 children waiting to start school.

The determination of the parents has drawn huge support, both from the local neighbourhood, with people bringing food for the occupiers and coming in to join them and from all over Spain. This is because their struggle is seen as being iconic in the fight for public education and against the proliferation and growth of private schools, whose funding from the state has not been cut, according to the parents.

This is just the latest battle in a long fight against cuts and school closures in Spain. The country is subject to harsh austerity measures, dictated by the Troika for the benefit of bond holders, which has seen youth unemployment climb to 58%, many in precarious work and families thrown out of their homes for failing to meet their rent or mortgate payments. Moreover corruption in elite circles is causing even more anger.

A spokesperson for the organisation Classrooms in the Streets, said - 'these days you even have to fight to get chalk!' He says that the decision to close the school is a symptom of a much bigger malaise, which is affecting the whole of public education in the country. The parents 'are giving a lesson in committment to their community, love for their children - who are all children - altruism, mutual help, collective intelligence and courage.'