The streets of Madrid are filled with protesters, miners and riot cops. For several weeks, miners’ unions across Spain have been protesting pay cuts, raised sales tax and cuts to subsidies. After a long hike across the country, the miners and their supporters have converged on Madrid, their anger intensified by the announcement that Spain would agree to further austerity measures — which have thus far hurt rather than helped the economy of Spain, which suffers from crippling unemployment — in order to receive another bailout.
At least 76 people were injured in the clashes, many by rubber bullets fired by riot police.
The situation shows no sign of improving, and may well become worse in response to the following policy announcements made by Prime Minister Rajoy:
The clashes came as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced an increase in the country’s general sales tax from 18% to 21%, as well as spending reductions that include cutting employment benefits after six months … “We will significantly reduce the number of public institutions,” Rajoy vowed.
Spain’s economic crisis has worsened since last year.
The nation slipped back into recession during the first quarter; the unemployment rate has risen to 24% overall, and more than 50% for those under age 25; and the government has already enacted billions of dollars in austerity cuts, along with some tax hikes, to reduce the budget deficit.
GUARDIAN LIVE BLOG: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/11/eurozone-crisis-spain-austerity-bailout