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Spain anti-austerity protesters clash with police

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish police and protesters clashed during an anti-austerity demonstration that drew tens of thousands of people to central Madrid on Saturday. Police said in a statement that six officers were injured and 12 people were arrested.

As a final speech was being given, some protesters attempted to break through a police barrier and make their way toward the nearby headquarters of the governing conservative Popular Party. Riot police then charged the protesters, who hurled bottles and other objects, and beat them back with batons.

One police vehicle and a bank were damaged by protesters. It wasn't immediately clear how many protesters were injured, and if anybody was seriously hurt on either side.

Protesters say Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government has eroded Spain's much-valued public health and education systems, while saddling Spaniards with sky-high unemployment and more debt.

Six columns of protesters - each from a different region of Spain - had arrived at the outskirts of the city early Saturday before heading for Colon square, carrying banners bearing the slogan "Marching for Dignity."

By late afternoon, Madrid's principal boulevard, Paseo del Prado, was packed with people chanting against government's austerity policies and the cuts they have entailed.

"I don't want corruption, government cuts and unemployment," said office worker Susana Roldan, 24. "What I want is a secure future in Spain."

Rajoy's conservative government has a large parliamentary majority, enabling it to push through waves of austerity-driven, unpopular tax hikes and government program cutbacks since taking office in 2011, in a bid to reduce Spain's budget deficit.

Spain's economy began to crumble in 2008 with the collapse of its bloated real-estate sector. It emerged from a two-year recession late last year as investor confidence returned and the country's borrowing costs dropped from perilously high levels in 2012 to pre-crisis rates this year. But unemployment is still cripplingly high at 26 percent, leading many to seek work oversees.

The protest includes trade unions, civil servants and organizations representing people evicted from their homes for not being able to make mortgage payments after losing their jobs.

One woman carried a banner saying, "My daughter can't be here because she's had to emigrate."

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Rachel March 22 2014 at 11:36 PM

Ummmmm, let them eat cake?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dicho March 23 2014 at 6:03 AM

What is happening economically in Spain is like a "hang over" from a great night partying.
No one was complaining or protesting during the party when the "times were good," despite the fact that everyone knew there would be a "price to pay." Things were almost too good !!
I am not neither defending the government and the corruption nor their irresponsible manner but
Popular Party's party is over and we all have a big headache.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
HIGHPOWER March 23 2014 at 12:55 AM

What you see in Spain is what Obama wants to see here. If its not clear to the Obama supporter then its proof that they are the" Uninformed voter" The end game is bankruptcy through lying and deception. Can you say Cloward- Piven yet.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
1 reply
xdrumline1 HIGHPOWER March 23 2014 at 2:27 AM

Yet, Republicans are the ones making the poor poorer....increasing the gap between classes....and making the 1% even wealthier by the minute.

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1 reply
triquicita xdrumline1 March 23 2014 at 4:31 AM

I'm sure you know a lot about those things and how they work, right?

Flag +2 rate up
hagenduz March 23 2014 at 1:52 PM

Coming to Amerika soon

Flag Reply +2 rate up
pdbliz March 23 2014 at 8:15 AM


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jwyola March 23 2014 at 1:41 PM

Spain is a little farther along .......“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

Flag Reply +1 rate up
silentmist1951 March 23 2014 at 1:34 PM

Wait until ours happens. Does our government really think it never has to pay our debt down ? Do we think that Obamacare will never increase to the point we can not afford it ? Our time is running out and unless, we the people, realize it, we are on the same path as Spain and many other countries !!!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
rexkraft March 23 2014 at 12:44 PM

Violence in the streets is spreading and becoming a trend worldwide in europe, the mideast, and south america. If the current economic "bubble" in the U.S. bursts and another recession/depression follows we will see that turmoil here at home. The globalization of the world economies by multi-national corporations seeking cheaper labor, resources, and ever higher profits through their front men, the politicians, is spurring the chaos.

Human greed knows no bounds and will be our undoing.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
Steve rexkraft March 23 2014 at 1:37 PM

Are you advocating hiding under a rock?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
gudtip March 23 2014 at 1:23 PM

it is not just the anti-austerity that people are protesting in the world today, it is everything and anything that pushed their button, people are just fatup with most of evrything that's going on around them, the Laws, the rules elmplemented and not emplemented, different rules for different people, in many cases comes down to how much money do you have or who do you know, some of the lw makers do not follow what they want everyone to follow, so yes any little thing breakes up and a lot of those people will join and protest, now days can get very serious with people getting hut or even killed.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Louis March 22 2014 at 10:59 PM

The problem is the politicians. All these career politicians are the ones ruining their respective countries because they are not one of the people and never have been. They are career politicians with no other agenda than to fill their pockets and further their own careers. What these countries like the US and Spain need are politicians voted in from the people. Politicians who know whats it like to have lived as normal working person; a person paid by the hour without perks, a person who has had to live their life on a strict budget in order to minimally support their family, etc. It's time to take away the special priviledges and perks of our elected officials and make them work and pay the same way we must.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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