Business, Economics and Jobs

Spain anti-austerity protests draw thousands


Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the euro zone leaders' agreed 'Pact For The Euro' on June 19, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Thousands across Spain protested how the country's economic crisis is being handled.


David Ramos

Tens of thousands of people across 80 cities took to the streets today to protest Spain's latest austerity package, the Associated Press reported. Riot police guarded the legislature in Madrid as people rallied outside. Local media estimated that 100,000 came to the capital for the protest. 

The marchers carried Spanish flags and banners that that said, "No to the cuts" and "You have ruined us," according to the AP. 

"We have to make some noise, because they're making fun of us and of all working people," a protester told Reuters

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The protests came after a week of anti-austerity marches, punctuated today when the Parliament approved a package of 65 billion euros, or $80 billion, of spending cuts and tax hikes to avoid a European bail-out, Reuters reported. In Madrid, firemen wore helmets and t-shirts with the slogan "Firemen in danger of extinction." While protests in Spain have been common, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's latest cuts have also drawn daily protests from public employees such as firefighters and police, groups that have previously avoided such marches, according to Reuters. 

Meanwhile, Cristobal Mindoro, Spain's budget minister, defended the measures. "There is no money in the coffers to pay for public services. We are making reforms that will allow us to better finance ourselves," Mindoro told Al Jazeera