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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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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 !!!!

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stf1958 March 23 2014 at 6:35 AM

Coming Soon, to a city near you...the more we spend, the sooner we'll be out of other people's money.

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1 reply
Drew stf1958 March 23 2014 at 7:05 AM

its a laugh... they call it a DIGNITY MARCH? They are too dignified to really work for their money. So they are protesting throwing rocks...etc. to force Government to give these Europeans more welfare monies.

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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.

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BOB March 23 2014 at 12:34 PM

The President of the United States, regardless of party, is just a dart board hung by the international bankers to provide the masses with amusement. In 2016 we'll meet the new boss, and he will be exactly like the old boss, just a different face. Oh, and riots, coming soon to a city near you.

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hagenduz March 23 2014 at 1:52 PM

Coming to Amerika soon

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dlupoff4law March 23 2014 at 1:21 AM

This is going to be the new Amerika (formally, "America") in the next ten years.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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

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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.

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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?

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amlearye March 23 2014 at 1:12 PM

Come on spain is fighting for better health and education for more jobs and to stop their debt.....we should take note of that.....like the man said about spain is all i want here. I want a secure future IN America

Flag Reply +6 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.

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