Monday, May 29, 2017

Thousands March Against Austerity Policies in Madrid

teleSUR | May 29, 2017

Protesters marched through Madrid towards the Plaza Neptuno square, forming four columns: “Unity,” “Equality,” “Liberty” and Solidarity.” | Photo: AFP
The protestors, who had a giant banner that read: Bread, work, roof, and equality,” chanted slogans demanding the repeal of labor reforms.

Thousands of people across Madrid marched in unity against government corruption and austerity measures.

On Saturday, anti-austerity protesters flocked to the streets of the city to demand a higher minimum wage, job security and an end to corruption. Using the slogan, “Marches of Dignity”, crowds of people demonstrated to express their displeasure with the policies implemented by the Spanish government.

The demonstration, which was staged by several trade unions and left-wing political groups, called for improved workers’ rights and a stable pension system. The protesters marched through the city, using four different routes, towards the Plaza Neptuno square. The routes formed columns that were dubbed “Unity,” “Equality,” “Liberty” and Solidarity.”

According to the authorities, the march organizers' estimate of a 200,000 turnout was inaccurate and closer to 6,000 participants. However, Agence France-Presse described the crowds of people as being “tens of thousands.”

The protestors, who were also outfitted with a giant banner that read: Bread, work, roof, and equality,” chanted slogans against the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, demanding that he repeal the labor reforms.

Rajoy, the leader of the conservative People’s Party, assumed office in December 2011 and immediately implemented reforms. The government's austerity measures include severe budget cuts and increased taxes – including a 21 percent sales tax, which was put in place in 2012.

Although the reforms have effected positive results, such as economic growth and a decrease in unemployment, they still elicit sharp criticism from left-wing politicians and activists.

Despite the reforms, Spain’s unemployment rate remains among the highest in the EU.

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