The protest was one of 80 protests against austerity being held by unions across the country. The protests have seen police clash with civil servants, fire fighters and in some cases other police officers. Marchers went through the capital’s streets bellowing anti government slogans and holding placards.
As the Madrid protest came to an end some protesters threw bottles at police and set up barriers made up of plastic bins and cardboard boxes in the middle of side streets leading to the square and set them on fire, sending plumes of thick smoke into the air. Riot police then charged some of the protestors, striking them with batons when they tried to reach the heavily-guarded parliament building.
The protests follow on from last week’s miners riots that left several police officers wounded and a number of miners arrested. The North and East of the country have descended into a guerrilla war between protesters and the nation’s riot police.
The latest marches come after the German Parliament gave the green light to the100-billion Euro bailout for the country’s battered banks. The EU’s finance ministers are now expected to approve the conditions for the financial lifeline to Madrid.
Spanish Prime minister Mariajo Rajoy is coming under increasing pressure from the European Union to sort out Spain’s devastated public finances. Rajoy however doesn’t seem to grasp the reality of the situation and is only making matters worse for the people of Spain.
His conservative party plans to cut unemployment benefits and increase sales tax, with the upper limit rising from 18 to 21 per cent. Unemployment is at a staggering 25% and youth unemployment is set to reach 50%. His policy of taxing has reduced any chance of the country posting growth and the fact that they have decided to hammer the airlines delivering wealthy tourists into the country is a sign of stupidity or desperation.
“There’s nothing we can do but take to the street. We have lost between 10 and 15 per cent of our pay in the past four years,” said Sara Alvera, 51, a worker in the justice sector, demonstrating in Madrid.
“These measures won’t help end the crisis.”
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