All News & Blogs
Police clash with protesters during a demonstration
Andres Kudacki/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 9/26/2012
MADRID--Spain's government was hit by the country's financial crisis on two fronts Tuesday as protestors enraged with austerity cutbacks and tax hikes clashed with police near Parliament while the nation's borrowing costs increased in an auction of its debt.
More than 1,000 riot police blocked off access to the Parliament building in the heart of Madrid, forcing most protesters to crowd nearby avenues and shutting down traffic at the height of the evening rush hour.
Police used batons to push back some protesters at the front of the march attended by an estimated 6,000 people as tempers flared, and some demonstrators broke down barricades and threw rocks and bottles toward authorities.
Television images showed officers beating protesters in response, and an Associated Press television producer saw five people dragged away by police and two protesters bloodied. Spanish state TV said at least 28 were injured, including two officers, and that 22 people were detained.
The demonstration, organized with an "Occupy Congress" slogan, drew protesters from all walks of life weary of nine straight months of painful economic austerity measures imposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his solid majority of lawmakers. Smaller demonstrations Tuesday attracted hundreds of protesters in Barcelona and Seville.
Angry Madrid marchers who got as close as they could to Parliament yelled, "Get out! Get out! They don't represent us! Fire them!"
"The only solution is that we should put everyone in Parliament out on the street so they know what it's like," said Maria Pilar Lopez, a 60-year-old government secretary.
Spain is struggling in its second recession in three years with unemployment near 25 percent. The country has introduced austerity measures and economic reforms in a bid to convince its euro partners and investors that it is serious about reducing its bloated deficit to 6.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 and 4.5 percent next year.
The deficit reached $64.8 billion, equivalent to 4.77 percent of GDP, through August, the government said Tuesday.