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Spain

Thousands protest financial hardships in Spain

Spaniards infuriated by the hardship of the country's financial crisis, as well as corruption scandals, took to the streets across the country. Protest organizers said Spain has been subjected to a "financial coup."

Thousands took to the streets on Saturday to protest the hardships and corruption scandals associated with the financial crisis, forming a "citizens' tide" of protests.

In the Spanish capital, Madrid, thousands answered the call of a group of civil movements, demonstrating against the spending cuts and tax hikes imposed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government in an attempt to reduce the deficit.

"We have come because of it all - unemployment, corrupt politicians, the young people who have no future - it's a combination of everything," Luis Mora, 55, a construction worker, told the AFP news agency.

Tackling the 'coup'

The action was planned to coincide with the anniversary of an attempted coup on February 23, 1981, in which right-wing officers tried to crush Spain's young democracy and restore military rule.

Saturday's organizers issued a manifesto saying their demonstrations targeted the "coup of the financial markets" they blame for the collapse of the housing market and the resulting financial crisis.

The cuts have targeted the public sector, and the protestors would prefer to see solutions that don't "give away" the Spanish welfare state.

The recession itself has caused numerous company shutdowns, putting millions out of work. The Spanish unemployment rate is above 26 percent.

Other side of coin

Rajoy defended his government's cuts in a national address on Wednesday.

"We have left behind us the constant threat of imminent disaster and we are starting to see the path for the future," he said.

Saturday's "citizens' tide" is the latest in a series of weekly demonstrations targeting Rajoy's austerity measures.

tm/rc (AFP, AP)