Skip to main content

Dozens hurt as police, anti-austerity protesters clash in Spain

From Al Goodman, CNN
July 12, 2012 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 43 protesters and 33 police are injured in clashes, Madrid ambulance service says
  • Spanish police use rubber bullets and batons to disperse protesters
  • Miners are protesting cuts to government subsidies for the mining sector
  • Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announces sales tax increase and more spending cuts

Madrid (CNN) -- More than 70 people were injured in clashes in Madrid on Wednesday as Spanish police used rubber bullets and batons to disperse anti-austerity protesters, witnesses and emergency workers said.

Protesters, including a group of miners who have marched on the capital, are demonstrating against Spain's government and the cuts it is imposing as it seeks to curb the country's debt crisis.

Hundreds of people quickly moved out of the area as police moved in, with witnesses reporting the use of rubber bullets and batons by officers.

Madrid's ambulance service said 76 people were injured in clashes at or near the Industry Ministry.

Police fire rubber bullets at protesters
Spanish PM speaks on the economy
How to fix the Spanish economy
Spanish flea market shoppers feel pinch

Miners were among the 43 protesters who were injured, and 33 police also were hurt. Eight were receiving hospital treatment, but the injuries were not serious, the ambulance service said.

A number of miners reached Madrid on Tuesday night after taking part in what has been dubbed the "Black March," covering 450 kilometers (280 miles) over the course of two and a half weeks.

They were joined by thousands of other miners and supporters in a large protest Tuesday night and another demonstration Wednesday outside the Industry Ministry.

The miners are protesting a 64% cut in the government subsidy to the mining sector this year -- from 301 million euros to 111 million euros.

Unions say this endangers the jobs of 8,000 miners and 22,000 auxiliary jobs that serve mining regions where 200,000 people live and depend on mines.

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.

Announcing the measures -- which are bound to be unpopular with the public -- to lawmakers, Rajoy said they would slash the budget by 65 billion euros ($80 billion) over two and a half years.

Meeting budget deficit reduction targets will require austerity and more efficiency, he said, including cuts to government bureaucracy.

"We will significantly reduce the number of public institutions," Rajoy vowed.

The European Commission welcomed the move, saying it was an "important step" toward Spain meeting its deficit target for the year, Spain's Efe news agency said.

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.

CNN's Claudia Rebaza contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT