Protests in Spain

2012-04-22 09:34

Madrid - Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of Barcelona on Saturday a day after the government announced cuts to public spending in health and education.

Education unions which organised the demonstration said 30 000 turned out to voice their opposition to the cuts, to be carried out at the national and at the level of the local region, Catalonia. Police put the figure at 2 000.

Rosa Canyadell, of the education USTEC said the authorities were in the process of dismantling state education.

"Education is the best way of overcoming the economic and social crisis, and public education is the only way we can guarantee social cohesion," said a statement by parents, unions and educational associations.

Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party has vowed to cut the country's deficit, which reached 8.51% of GDP in 2011.

On Friday it adopted an austerity budget designed slash spending by 10 billion euros ($13 billion) a year: three billion euros of those cuts will come from education.

The measures include letting regional governments expand class sizes by 20% and raising university fees to an average 1 500 euros from 1 000 euros.

Spain's main unions have called for a day of protests against the cuts in health and education spending on April 29.

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