Protests and Paseos in Madrid

Antonio Huerta captures a turbulent period in Spain.

Shifting Ground was an open call for visual reports about how the events of 2020 and 2021 reconfigured our relationship with both public and private space. Select entries were posted on the League’s Instagram account.

Antonio Huerta observed changing routines in Madrid in 2020.

He wrote:

After 8 weeks in one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, Madrileños returned to the calle in May during permitted franjas horárias—time slots—to find a city without cars or pollution, as well as the rediscovered ecstasy of public life, albeit in short, heavily-policed doses.

The cherished pre-dinner paseo between 8–11 p.m. returned, but was also seized for political expression.

Right-wing nationalists decried continued restrictions by banging pots and pans daily.

Solidarity with Black Lives Matter drew an enormous crowd to the US Embassy, then on a march down the city’s principal avenues. That Sunday morning, like all others, the franja horária was a short window into people’s deep need for public space and expression.

In the past few weeks COVID-19 cases have begun to rise once again, despite the fact that everyone wears a mask on the street. (Being caught in public without a mask, even when smoking a cigarette, can lead to fines of hundreds of euros.) This has led to conflicting theories about how the disease is spreading and escalated uncertainty about the future as students return to school.


Antonio Huerta

(@el___chico) is a designer, photographer, and teacher (and former League staff member).