In the last two weeks, Spain has seen a strike by miners from the regions of Leon and Austurias. These strikes are in response to government austerity measures, and have sometimes resulted in violent confrontations with riot police.
The conservative government raised taxes and cut subsidies in an effort to improve its weak economy. The Spanish economy is stagnant, with a 24% unemployment rate. In response to budget cuts, there have been frequent protests throughout the country.
On May 23, coal miners began the newest strike after Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy proposed cutting subsidies for coal mines from €301 million last year to €111 million. Unions have warned the cuts would make Spanish coal less competitive and will lead to closures and job losses at country’s 40 coal mines.
Since the strike began, citizens have documented violent clashes filled with burning barricades, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said the country will stick to its austerity measures. Meanwhile miners have called an indefinite strike until the government revises budget cuts.
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- Miners block road in Spain during protest of cuts (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Thousands of Spanish coal miners on indefinite strike and calling for massive protest tomorrow in Madrid (mining.com)