Spaniards hit streets against cuts

Spaniards hit streets against cuts

MADRID - Reuters
Thousands of people protested across Spain yesterday against government cuts aimed at tackling a debt crisis that has pushed the country back into recession and sent unemployment close to 25 percent.

Protesters closed central parts of the capital Madrid on a wet Sunday to protest against cuts to education and health services the government says must be made to help slash the public deficit.

 The protests, which were peaceful, were mirrored in over 50 cities across the country as Spaniards grow weary of austerity measures and years of hardship triggered by a real estate crash in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008.

The central government aims to make savings in its budget this year of around 27 billion euros ($36 billion), with a further 10 billion euros to be made in healthcare and education spending, which is controlled by the country’s 17 autonomous regions.

“It’s getting worse for us all. People are starting to protest more because it’s affecting every sector. It’s affecting everyone,” said Charo, a middle-aged woman with her children in Madrid.

Labor unions called for large-scale protests to continue in coming months to persuade leaders they should not rely solely on cuts to deal with the deficit and should aim to stimulate growth.