Yesterday (Thursday) saw a fresh wave of protests across Spain.
Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities across the country to demonstrate against the government’s austerity measures.
Demonstrations were held in the capital Madrid along with tens of other cities by more than 100 organizations, including the country’s top trade unions.
Thousands marched through the streets of Madrid, with many waving red-and-white labour union flags. They held billboards with slogans calling for an end to budget-cutting measures.
The protestors are angry at the PP conservative government tax rises, public salary freezes and spending cuts, which have been implemented in a bid to reduce the country’s deficit.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has been widely criticized for the austerity measures.
There has also been growing pressure from the European Union. Spain has promised the EU it will succeed in lowering the public deficit to 5.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, 4.2% in 2015 and 2.8% in 2016.
Despite a catalogue of unpopular cuts and tax hikes, official figures show Spain’s public debt increased to a new record high last year.
Data released by the Spanish Central Bank last month reveal that the government’s debt reached 93.9% of the GDP in 2013.
Since Spain was badly hit by 2007’s global financial crisis the country has struggled to deal with its worst economic state since World War II, with millions of Spaniards jobless and living in poverty.
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, has released figures that suggest that a fifth of the country’s population is living below the poverty threshold.