Nationwide Spanish protests turn violent (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Spanish police have clashed with protesters who marched against the latest batch of austerity measures. Over a million public employees, trade union members and fed-up citizens have taken to the streets in over 80 Spanish cities.

Violence erupted in Madrid around midnight. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd as it tried to reach the congress building. In some more urban areas, activists set garbage containers on fire and tried to block police vehicle access. No injuries or arrests have been reported.

In Barcelona, similar scenes were reported. About a dozen protesters were arrested there, outside the local parliament building.

Demonstrators carried flags and banners decorated with scissors, symbolizing the country’s harsh spending cuts. The streets of Madrid were paralyzed by the boundless crowds of people.

The protests were organized by unions, who have been outraged by the government’s new measures – which include an elimination of Christmas bonuses for civil servants.

Earlier Thursday, Spanish Parliament approved a new package of spending cuts and tax hikes aiming to save $80 billion in a bid to take a bite out of the budget deficit. Since the measure was announced last week, Spain has witnessed a series of daily demonstrations, some of which have erupted into violence.

Europe’s fourth-largest economy also has the EU’s highest unemployment rate. About a quarter of working-age Spaniards are unable to find work.

Meanwhile, Germany’s lower house approved a $122 billion rescue package for Spanish banks in a bid to help the country cope with “excessive” market fears and prevent the eurozone’s debt crisis from spreading further.

Spain, Madrid: Riot policemen remain on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012. (AFP Photo / Pedro Armestre)
Spain, Madrid: Riot policemen remain on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012.

 

Spain, Madrid: A man stands in front of riot policemen on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012. (AFP Photo / Pedro Armestre)
Spain, Madrid: A man stands in front of riot policemen on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012.

 

Spain, Madrid : A man holds a sign reading "Spaniards, Franco is back" on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012. (AFP Photo / Pedro Armestre)
Spain, Madrid : A man holds a sign reading “Spaniards, Franco is back” on a street of Madrid during a protest against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures, on July 19, 2012.

 

Spain, Madrid : people demonstrate against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures in the center of Madrid on July 19, 2012.(AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)
Spain, Madrid : people demonstrate against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures in the center of Madrid on July 19, 2012.

 

Firemen spray water over demonstrators during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid. (REUTERS / Sergio Perez)
Firemen spray water over demonstrators during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid.

 

Protesters march during a demonstration against government austerity measures, in central Valencia
Protesters march during a demonstration against government austerity measures, in central Valencia.

 

Demonstrators fill Madrid′s Puerta del Sol square during a protest against government austerity measures. (REUTERS / Sergio Perez)
Demonstrators fill Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square during a protest against government austerity measures.

 

Firefighters pose naked in front of a banner during a demonstration against government cuts inside their fire station in Mieres (REUTERS / Eloy Alonso)
Firefighters pose naked in front of a banner during a demonstration against government cuts inside their fire station in Mieres.

 

A demonstrator dresses as an skeleton during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid (REUTERS / Sergio Perez)
A demonstrator dresses as an skeleton during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid.

 

Civil servants shout slogans during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid (REUTERS / Sergio Perez)
Civil servants shout slogans during a protest against government austerity measures in Madrid.

 

Firemen participate in a protest against government austerity measures in Barcelona.(REUTERS / Albert Gea)
Firemen participate in a protest against government austerity measures in Barcelona.

 

SPAIN, Barcelona : A woman holds a banner rwhich translates as "culture is not a luxury" during a demonstration organized by Unions on July 19, 2012 in Barcelona, against the government′s welfare cuts. In the latest measures to lower Spain′s deficit, conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced 65 billion euros′ ($80 billion) worth of savings measures. (AFP Photo / Josep Largo)
SPAIN, Barcelona : A woman holds a banner rwhich translates as “culture is not a luxury” during a demonstration organized by Unions on July 19, 2012 in Barcelona, against the government’s welfare cuts. In the latest measures to lower Spain’s deficit, conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced 65 billion euros’ ($80 billion) worth of savings measures.

 

Spain, Madrid : Thousands of people protest against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures, in Madrid, on July 19, 2012. AFP Photo / Pedro Armestre)
Spain, Madrid : Thousands of people protest against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures, in Madrid, on July 19, 2012.

 

Spain, Barcelona : A man protests during a demonstration organized by Unions on July 19, 2012 in Barcelona, against the government′s welfare cuts. (AFP Photo / Josep Lago)
Spain, Barcelona : A man protests during a demonstration organized by Unions on July 19, 2012 in Barcelona, against the government’s welfare cuts.

 

Spain, Madrid : Spanish actors Javier Bardem his brother Carlos Bardem and their mother Pilar Bardem demonstrate against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures in Madrid on July 19, 2012. (AFP Photo/ Dominiwue Faget)
Spain, Madrid : Spanish actors Javier Bardem his brother Carlos Bardem and their mother Pilar Bardem demonstrate against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures in Madrid on July 19, 2012.

 

Spain, Seville: A woman protests against the Spanish government′s latest austerity measures, in Seville, on July 19, 2012. (AFP Photo / Cristina Quicler)
Spain, Seville: A woman protests against the Spanish government’s latest austerity measures, in Seville, on July 19, 2012.

 

One comment

  1. And where were all these people when thay elected corrupt politicians puppets of the fascist gangster called bankers ? They were sleeping and partying. Like in Ireland, Iceland, USA, UK and many many places. Most people dont want to know how the racket of bankiing and fractionnal reserve functions. The sad truth. I regularly try to explain it to my friends. People are fools. You are rigth. Eventually we will have to hang bankers. These people are war criminals, mass murderers. They are the source of all this chaos. They are the real terrorists.

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