20 Jul 2012

Spain police clash with austerity protesters

Spanish police have fired rubber bullets and charged protesters in central Madrid after a huge demonstration against economic crisis measures. Thick smoke hung in the air early on Friday from plastic bins set alight by protestors chased by police, who hit them with batons when some tried to reach the heavily-guarded parliament at the end of a mostly peaceful march.

AFP reporters at the scene said dozens of protesters lingered, some throwing bottles at police, near the Puerta del Sol, the big square at the heart of the city where a march of hundreds of thousands wound up late Thursday. A police official said that officers arrested seven people and six others were injured. Earlier, tens of thousands of public employees, trade union members and other Spaniards have marching in 80 Spanish cities to protest the latest batch of austerity measures approved by the government.

police madrid

The ruling conservative Popular Party used its majority in parliament to push through the measures on Thursday. They include a rise in sales taxes and a wage cut for civil servants. Workers yelled in anger branding the crisis measures "robbery".

Al Jazeera English