Spaniards descend on parliament over austerity drive | News | DW | 19.07.2012
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Spaniards descend on parliament over austerity drive

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Spain to protest against the government’s latest raft of austerity measures. Sales taxes look set to rise with many salaries due to fall.

Protesters crowded Madrid's Puerta del Sol, the geographic center of Spain, as well as the streets in front of the country's parliament building.

Police were deployed outside the legislature in significant numbers, manning barricades. The Spanish daily newspaper El Pais estimated that more than 100,000 people attended the rally in the capital.

Watch video 01:19

Spaniards protest austerity drive

Marchers carried Spanish flags adorned with black mourning bows, as well as banners bearing the slogans "No to the cuts" and "You have ruined us."

Unions called more than 80 demonstrations across the country. Among those taking part were firemen, police offices, nurses and teachers.

There were similar protests in larger regional cities such as Barcelona, Bilbao and Seville.

Further protests are planned for the weekend, with demonstrations this month taking place on an almost daily basis.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks during a control session at the Spanish Parliament

Rajoy's party enjoys a comfortable majority in parliament

The actions come after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last week announced new measures, aiming to save 65 billion euros ($80 billion).

Rajoy' ruling conservative Popular Party used a parliamentary majority to push through measures that include a rise in sales taxes and a wage cut for civil servants.

The government also published details of the 100 billion euro financial assistance agreement between Spain and the Eurogroup, aimed at strengthening the country's struggling banks.

The German parliament on Thursday gave its backing for the aid package to Spain in a vote that was comfortably won by the government.

rc/ij (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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