Police And Protestors Clash On Madrid March
Police have clashed with miners protesting against a new round of austerity measures in Spain, amid rising anger over the country's dire economy.
Spain's Prime Minister went to parliament to confirm further, painful, tax increases as thousands of miners took to the streets of Madrid, many of them having walked for weeks to make a new protest against subsidy cuts.
Riot police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators after they began to throw stones and bottles at them.
Retired miner Olvidio Gonzalez, 67, was hit in leg by a rubber bullet. Rescue workers took him away on a stretcher.
"We were walking peacefully to get to where the union leaders were speaking and they started to fire indiscriminately," he said.
"There was no warning."
Another protester, Santiago Oviedo, 24, said he saw protesters throwing fireworks, bottles and cans at police behind a cordon outside the ministry. People panicked and ran, Oviedo said, adding that he saw a few people get hit by rubber bullets.
At least three people have been detained as a result of the clashes, a police spokesman said.
The country's leader, Mariano Rajoy, is also reportedly under pressure over the prospect of small savers losing billions of euros through a write-off of certain bank debts.
According to a draft memorandum of understanding, seen by the Financial Times, losses within a number of controversial savings products would have to be written off in return for a bank securing bailout funds.
The country's banks were granted 30bn euros (£23.7bn) of up to 100bn promised by eurozone finance ministers to help them recapitalise after enduring huge losses on the collapse of the country's property boom.
In Parliament, Mr Rajoy was forced to confirm further spending cuts to demonstrate to his European partners that his country was committed to tackling its deficit and avoiding the need for a state bailout.
His plan was aimed, he said, at trimming the public budget by 65bn euros (£51bn) over the next two-and-a-half years as part of efforts to meet an extended EU target of reaching a public deficit target of 3% of GDP by 2014.
Value-added tax (VAT) would be raised by three percentage points to 21%, he confirmed.
The reforms also included a tax scheme for the energy sector that would force companies and consumers to share higher bills.
Rajoy also said he may privatise airport, railway and port assets.
With the economy in recession, unemployment high at almost 25% and tax income falling, Spain is said by analysts to be struggling to meet even its relaxed deficit targets.
The announcements helped ease pressure on Spanish borrowing costs, with the yield on its 10 year bonds falling further from the so-called danger zone of 7% earlier this week to 6.77%.
Sky's economics editor Ed Conway said the prime minister's reforms amounted to the fourth round of austerity in just seven months and were a consequence of Spain's inability to devalue because of its euro membership.
He said: "it is difficult to see how much more austerity will help it get out of the biggest recession, potentially depression, that they have faced in recent history".
:: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned eurozone nations they must act now to prevent creating a further 4.5 million unemployed workers in the next four years. "The eurozone is facing its worst crisis since the creation of the single currency," ILO Director-General Juan Somavia told reporters.
He said he had long warned against austerity measures as a way out of financial difficulties and added that unless all eurozone members embraced a growth strategy with jobs at its core, even the wealthiest countries would be hit.
what do you think?
Goodbye Europe and America. Please all rise for the new kings. China and Russia. I wonder what sorts of foreign policies they will have for UK. I have a feeling the going to invest billions into born again Christians. In order to destabilize the economy even more. Does that kinda strategy ring a bell to anyone.
Perhaps if the people of our country were more predisposed to mass strikes and civil disobedience then maybe our criminal politicians wouldnt be able to force austerity upon us - whilst they count their millions, unaffected by recession, and laugh at us behind our backs for following them like sheep. Support all the people of Europe who reject enforced immoral austerity.
We live on an island with billions of tons of coal under our feet and we import coal from foreign countries. Spain mines it's own coal and employs thousands of miners. We are ruled by a bunch of half-wits, and I mean the three main parties, there is not a jot of difference between them. God help us.
John, it is half-wits like you that post such ridiculous comments. Coal mining is only worthwhile if you can sell the coal at a higher price than it costs to mine it. In the UK this is a definite non-starter.
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You sound a bright spark pal, the cheap foreign coal isn't cheap anymore, that is why our power bills are going through the roof Einstein.
Ronald George Halliday
In wonderment at the policies of these of these clowns called politicians. Do none of them know anything about economics. Europe going down the pan fast now. Keep taxing people, less jobs = more unemployment, more state benefiets, more government borrowing. Time to look at putting a stop to this nonsense. Anybody out there with a plan of creativity to create employment and put people back to work, which = revenue for a government, wage for a person, who then can afford to pay the taxation at a reasonable rate, and live.
How about we tax our rich to the tune of 70% instead of Osbourne's cutting their top rate? How about CLOSING all the tax evasion/avoidance loopholes? We can also tax the big corporations who have £750bn sloshing around in the banks and and re-nationalise the energy companies with no compensation (they've made enough out of us). Top all that up and we'll have more than a trillion quid. Now with that money we can launch a massive house-building programme, creating tens of thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, all paying tax, of course. We can invest in a modern publically owned transport system, we can boost our manufacturing industry. Build more hospitals and schools instead of shutting them down. Finally, take over the church and Royal lands, the resources and wealth tied up in there must be huge. Full employment on decent wages, with a shorter working week Got to be better than what these capitalist politicians are doing.
While I agree with the sentiment regarding taxing the rich, if you try it you'll find that they will employ even more tax accountants to make sure HMRC do not get any of it! (I am an accountant but not in tax). So you're plan of attack unfortunately will not work. Surely saving the £50M per day that we pay to the EU could do most of what you would like to see built?
just make it against the law for any form of tax-dodging/tax evasion.
Nationalise the energy companies with no compensation,now theres a good idea.As a pensioner with a very small private pension which is like millions of other pensioners invested in the energy and water companies it seems like very hard justice to rob individual investors of money which we saved in pensions .As to the silly idea that the nationalisted industries of the 1960 to 1980 were anything other than a money box from the tax payer is nonsence
Chris, If you tax the rich more they will just leave. Look at lewis Hamilton, first thing he did after he became rich was change nationality to pay less tax. There's a saying 30% of something is better then 70% of nothing. You need rich people in ur country, you need to attract them to live here, instead of deter them.
Everybody in Spain from the government to individual citizens knew exactly what was going on and all spent and took money they never had. Greed by all and government, banks companies, individuals and especially the public sector are responsible for the sad state that Spain has inflicted on itself. Taxing the rich would be pointless, raise very little money and they would leave Spain. All of Spin need to take responsibilty for their actions and stop whinging and whining